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Serbia Criticized For Nobel Ceremony Boycott

Chairman of the Nobel Committee holds a photograph of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10.
The European Union has sharply criticized EU-hopeful Serbia's decision to join 18 other countries in boycotting the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony.

Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic has said Belgrade would not be represented at the event in Oslo on December 10 to honor the 2010 laureate, jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion.

A spokeswoman for the EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said the EU is "disappointed and concerned" about Belgrade's gesture.

The Serb move is widely seen as a gesture of gratitude for Beijing's support of Serbia in its campaign against Kosovo's secession.

Beijing boycotted the awards ceremony in 2008 when former United Nations diplomat Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the prize. Belgrade has accused Ahtisaari of engineering Kosovo's independence.

compiled from agency reports