Nobel fetes Colombia peace deal but Dylan no-show

Despite not attending the gala ceremony in Stockholm due to "pre-existing commitments", the US music icon-cum-literature laureate said in a speech read on his behalf that he was "honoured" to receive the award.

His decision not to attend has been perceived by many as a slight towards the Swedish Academy that awards the literature prize and the Nobel Foundation, though they have denied taking offence.

"I'm sorry I can't be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honoured to be receiving such a prestigious prize," Dylan said in a speech delivered by the US ambassador in Sweden, Azita Raji.

American rock star Patti Smith, a friend of Dylan's, performed his song "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" during the awards ceremony, stumbling after being overcome by nerves. She apologised to the 1,500 guests and resumed singing after warm applause.

Earlier in the day in Oslo, Santos said in his acceptance speech that the Colombian peace accord, signed on November 24 to end five decades of conflict, was a "model for the resolution of armed conflicts that have yet to be resolved around the world."

"It proves that what, at first, seems impossible, through perseverance may become possible even in Syria or Yemen or South Sudan," Santos said as he collected his prize at a lavish ceremony at Oslo's City Hall, decked out in red, orange and white roses and carnations imported from Colombia for the occasion.

Santos, who wore a dove lapel pin on his dark suit and whose wife donned a white dress with a peace symbol cut-out in the back, said his government was itself inspired by other peace processes in Northern Ireland, South Africa, the Middle East and Central America.

After a first peace deal was rejected in a popular vote on October 2, the rebels and government negotiated a new accord to end the conflict, which has killed more than 260,000 people, left tens of thousands missing and forced nearly seven million to flee their homes.

"The Colombian peace agreement is a ray of hope in a world troubled by so many conflicts and so much intolerance," he said.


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