- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 15, 2009

A majority of Norwegian Nobel Committee members initially were opposed to giving the Nobel Peace Prize this year to President Obama, the Norway tabloid daily Verdens Gang reported Thursday.

The paper said several sources confirmed that three of the five members were opposed to Mr. Obama’s receiving the prize. The stunning announcement of his award was made Friday, just nine months after Mr. Obama took office.

The report appears to contradict committee Secretary Geir Lundestad’s statement during the announcement that “the committee was unanimous.”

The newspaper’s sources said those opposed were right-wing Progress Party member Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, Conservative Party member Kaci Kullmann and Socialist Left member Aagot Valle.

The sources also said Ms. Ytterhorn led the opposition, questioning whether Mr. Obama could live up to his promises to reduce nuclear engagement.

Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland and committee member Sissel Roenbeck, both of the Labor Party, strongly supported Mr. Obama, the newspaper reported.

The members are appointed by the Norwegian parliament and are supposed to vote independently of their party. Mr. Jagland is a former prime minister of Norway.

The committee said it awarded the peace prize to Mr. Obama for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

The members’ comments appear to be a departure from the committee’s strict rule of not disclosing the nominees, nominators and details of the negotiations for 50 years.

Mr. Obama said he was “deeply humbled” to receive the award.

• Joseph Weber can be reached at jweber@washingtontimes.com.old.

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