Obama's low-profile trip irks Norwegians: polls

13:49, December 10, 2009      

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Almost half of the Norwegians feel snubbed by U.S. President Barack Obama, who is on a low-profile trip to their country to collect his Nobel Peace Prize in Norway's capital, Oslo.

A poll conducted by pollster In Fact showed that 55 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents thought Obama was "impolite" not to attend the award presentation music concert; 44 percent though this no-show at the state banquet was "unacceptable," and 34 percent thought his staying-away from the traditional Nobel concert was "unacceptable."

Nearly half of the respondents thought the visiting U.S. president should take questions from the media at a scheduled press conference in Oslo.

The poll results were published in the country's largest circulation newspaper VG on Wednesday.

Though government advisor Kjell Terje Ringdal said he fully understood Obama's desire to stay low profile during his two-day visit to Oslo, the Aftenposten newspaper quoted Svein Tore Bergestuen as saying that Obama was a little "arrogant" by deciding not to attend the state banquet to be given by Norwegian King Harald V and Queen Sonja.

The commentator added that the U.S. president should conduct his visit to the Nordic country in a more polite way.

The VG newspaper reported on Wednesday that the number of Norwegians who supported the Nobel committee to award this year's Peace Prize to Obama has dropped from 42.7 percent in October to 35.9 percent in December.

Siv Jensen, leader of Norway's largest opposition party, strongly opposed the Nobel committee's decision and demanded that Thorbjorn Jagland step down as the committee chief.

The youth wing of the Socialist Left and several other political groups have announced plans to hold demonstrations on Thursday to press for an end to the war in Afghanistan, where Obama has just announced a surge of 30,000 additional troops.

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