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Albania, Kosovo ambassadors to boycott Nobel ceremony in protest against Handke

Albania, Kosovo ambassadors to boycott Nobel ceremony in protest against Handke
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By Reuters
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Albania said on Monday its ambassador to Sweden would boycott the Nobel prize awards ceremony in protest against 2019 literature prize laureate Peter Handke, who has been criticised for supporting late former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

The Swedish Academy's choice of Austrian Handke has been widely criticised because he has expressed support for and attended the funeral of Milosevic, who died in detention at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague in 2006.

A Turkey government official on Saturday called on the Swedish Academy to change the decision to award Handke the prize and Kosovo said its ambassador would not attend the awards ceremony on Tuesday.

"Consistent with our initial reaction, we have also instructed the Ambassador of Albania to Sweden to boycott the Nobel Prize ceremony for (Peter) Handke," Acting Albanian Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj wrote on Twitter.

"Justification of war atrocities during the Yugoslavia break-up must not be rewarded. This will solely strengthen the state of denial that must be overcome and strongly condemned," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Albanian Foreign Ministry confirmed it was the country's official position.

A defiant Handke on Friday dismissed questions about his support for Milosevic during a news conference in Stockholm.

(Reporting by Johan Ahlander and Benet Koleka, editing by Ed Osmond)

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