Hiroshima Nobel summit closes without Liu statement

Hiroshima Nobel summit closes without Liu statement

The failure to mention Liu sparked discord at the annual World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, which had earlier greeted yesterday's release from house arrest of another winner, Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"I feel I need to say something," the 1997 winner Jody Williams said at a joint news conference of the laureates, including the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and former South African president F W de Klerk.

"We also have to recognise another," said Williams of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. "One of our Nobel Peace colleagues is imprisoned."

"We cannot be silent in the face of pressure from the Chinese government."
"Liu Xiaobo is not forgotten. We will work as diligently for his release as we have for that of our sister Aung San Suu Kyi."

Former Chinese student leader Wu'er Kaixi, who was involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, joined the summit of six Nobel winners and earlier urged China to "release Liu Xiaobo immediately and unconditionally".

The Dalai Lama welcomed the choice of Liu for the prize.

An organising source said the laureates had earlier approved a draft statement on Liu, but decided not to release it "out of respect" for the host city's position, which wanted to keep the focus on nuclear weapons.

De Klerk, who shared the 1993 prize with Nelson Mandela, said "the main focus of this conference was on the abolition of nuclear arms and we didn't want to take the spotlight away from the main issue."

Asked at the press conference if there had been any pressure to drop a statement on Liu, de Klerk said: "To the best of my knowledge, none of us have been pressurised in any way or anybody."

The Nobel laureates, after meeting for three days in the city destroyed in the world's first atomic bombing in 1945, today issued their Hiroshima Declaration on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.

"Nuclear deterrence, power projection and national prestige as arguments to justify acquiring and retaining nuclear weapons are totally outdated and must be rejected," the declaration said.

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