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Paper Pierces Nobel Secrecy, Says Rabin, Arafat to Get Prize

October 12, 1994| Times Wire Services

OSLO — The traditional secrecy around the Nobel Peace Prize was torn Tuesday, just days before the award announcement, when a newspaper reported a bitter dispute over the choice of Yasser Arafat as co-winner.

The Oslo newspaper Aftenposten reported that the PLO chairman and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin would be announced as winners Friday.

And the newspaper said a committee member, Kaare Kristiansen, who has labeled Arafat a terrorist, would resign if the Palestinian leader shares the $933,000 prize.

Rabin and Arafat have been mentioned for months as likely winners for the historic treaty they signed last year.

But the bald disclosure of the names and glimpses at behind-the-scenes bickering were rare. There have been leaks in past years to Norwegian media, but the news wasn't reported with such certainty.

Kristiansen and others involved in this year's Peace Prize refused to confirm or deny the newspaper's report, though one source who refused to be identified told Reuters news service that it was accurate.

According to the newspaper, the award committee still had time to meet and change its mind, although the paper said that appeared unlikely.

Kristiansen is a former Christian Democratic politician and a longtime friend of Israel. Asked whether his reputation for disliking Arafat was correct, Kristiansen said: "That's right."

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