Following a sobering speech by US President Barack Obama, my colleagues at Westdeutscher Rundfunk wanted my analysis and impressions from Oslo. Here is the interview in German. Translation and transcription by Katie Ganzer also provided.
In Oslo, Norway today President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. His acceptance comes on the heels of Mr. Obama’s still controversial nomination by the Nobel committee, awarding the prize to a world leader whose country is still fighting two wars. The normally sleepy city of Oslo turned overnight into the frontline of a debate over war and peace. From Oslo, Tony Ganzer reports.
TG: Though the bells from Oslo City Hall rang a familiar sound, the city streets were drastically changed for the arrival of Mr. Obama. Chain link fences, concrete barricades and police with machine guns lined most streets. Even before Mr. Obama arrived in Norway Greenpeace began handing out fliers urging Mr. Obama’s action on climate change. But in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize Mr. Obama spoke directly to the criticism of his award.
Obama: …my accomplishments are slight“ :20
Mr. Obama listening to his introduction during the peace prize ceremony.
TG: Mr. Obama’s peace prize was awarded for his efforts on climate change, nuclear proliferation and diplomacy, according to the Nobel committee. This prize has attracted increasing attention in recent days after Mr. Obama announced 30-thousand more American troops would be deployed to Afghanistan. Though Mr. Obama underscored his support for diplomatic solutions to conflicts, he defended the option of armed conflict.
Obama: …and the strength of our arms“
TG: Mr. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama appeared briefly after the ceremony to wave from their hotel balcony at a crowd. A mixed group of demonstrators with varied interests gathered nearby, holding signs urging an end to the war in Afghanistan, and US action on climate change, among other things. Mr. Obama will leave Oslo tomorrow morning, after spending just 26 hours in the country.
From Oslo, I’m Tony Ganzer reporting.