09:11 GMT +319 January 2020
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    A former director of the Nobel Institute involved in awarding US President Barack Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize says he can understand why there was so much controversy and outrage over the decision, telling Sputnik that even the US leader himself didn't think he was worthy of the prize.

    Geir Lundestad, who served as the director of the Nobel Institute for 25 years, said that despite Obama's ambitious diplomacy goals, which persuaded the committee to award the president the prestigious honor, he knew there were serious limits as to what could be achieved.    

    "The committee clearly realized that it was limited what he could achieve, but we felt it was important to support him in these crucial efforts," Lundestad told Sputnik, acknowledging that even Obama himself didn't think he was worthy of the honor.

    "In his Nobel speech in 2009, Obama specifically addressed this issue. I mean how could he, who was indeed conducting two wars — in Afghanistan and Iraq — receive the Nobel Peace Prize? How could he justify this?"

    Obama: Legacy
    © Sputnik / Vitaly Podvitski
    Obama: Legacy

    Any US President Will Be Involved in Conflicts

    The decision to award Obama with the Peace Prized caused widespread criticism, given that the US was actively engaged in several overseas conflicts.

    Others have criticized awarding Obama with the prestigious honor due to his actions post-2009, with the US decision to engage in overseas military interventions in Yemen, Libya and more recently Iraq and Syria, which critics argue have further destabilized the region.

    However, Lundestad moved to clarify his thoughts and defend the decision to award Obama the 2009 prize, saying that "any American president will be involved in conflicts."

    "Any American president can be criticized for certain actions. Any American president will be involved in conflicts, sometimes even in wars, but president Obama has been able to, to a very large extent, get out of the two wars that he inherited [in] Afghanistan and Iraq, he had a low profile on Libya and he refused to intervene in Syria and many criticized him for not intervening in Syria."

    Media Scandal

    Mr Lundestad was at the center of a media storm after Norwegian and international media outlets reported that he had regrets over the decision to award the US president with the prestigious prize, given his record in office since that time.

    However, Mr Lundestad said that content in his newly released book 'Secretary of Peace — 25 years with the Nobel Prize' was "misunderstood" by some journalists in the rush to report "sensational news".    


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    foreign intervention, military action, western medling, mistake, award, government, peace prize, Norwegian Nobel Committee, Barack Obama, Norway, Europe, United States
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