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Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed Wins 2019 Nobel Peace Prize

Fri 11 Oct 2019 | 11:31 AM
Nawal Sayed

The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee announcement on 11 October 2019 in Oslo, Norway.

Abiy won the prize “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation,” according to Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

“The committee has not communicated with the newly-awarded Ahmed, but I’m sending him now my warmest congratulations,” Reiss-Andersen added.

Early Nobel Peace Prize?

When Abiy became Prime Minister in April 2018, he made it clear that he wished to resume peace talks with Eritrea. In close cooperation with Isaias Afwerki, the President of Eritrea, Abiy quickly worked out the principles of a peace agreement to end the long “no peace, no war” stalemate between the two countries.

“Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone,” she noted. “When Prime Minister Abiy reached out his hand, President Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalize the peace process between the two countries.”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In September 2018 he and his government contributed actively to the normalization of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti after many years of political hostility.

Additionally, Abiy has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area.

In Sudan, the military regime and the opposition have returned to the negotiating table. On the 17th of August, they released a joint draft of a new constitution intended to secure a peaceful transition to civil rule in the country.

Prime Minister Abiy played a key role in the process that led to the agreement.

As Prime Minister, Abiy has sought to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice. However, many challenges remain unresolved.

“Ethnic strife continues to escalate, and we have seen troubling examples of this in recent weeks and months,” Reiss-Andersen noted.

She stressed that “no doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early,” adding that The Committee believes it is now that “Abiy’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.”