Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Wins 2019 Nobel Peace Prize For Efforts In Ending Conflict With Eritrea
The Norwegian Nobel Committee recognized Abiy Ahmed for making peace with Eritrea.
October 11, 2019 at 12:21 pm
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in ending conflict with neighboring country Eritrea.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the award on Twitter, saying the prime minister is recognized "for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea."
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 11, 2019
Announcing the recognition in Oslo, Norwegian Nobel Committee Chair Berit Reiss-Andersen said the 43-year-old prime minister has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life in addition to resolving the conflict with Eritrea.
"When he became Prime Minister in April 2018, he made it clear that he wished to achieve peace with Eritrea," Reiss-Andersen said. "Abiy Ahmed quickly worked out the principles for a peace agreement to end the long 'no-peace, no war' stalemate between the two countries."
Reiss-Andersen said the principles are set out in the declaration signed by Ali and Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki.
"An important premise for the breakthrough was Abiy Ahmed's unconditional willingness to accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002," the Nobel Committee chair said.
According to CNN, the 20-year conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea started with a border dispute near a town called Badme, leading to a war that cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives lost.
"The two countries are no longer in the state of war. Families have been reunited because flights are now running between the two countries," Awol Allo, an Ethiopian professor in Britain, told CNN. "Relations that have been severed for 20 years have been rekindled."
World leaders used social media to praise Ali for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Congratulations Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for your efforts to resolve border conflict with neighboring Eritrea," former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said. "It is an honour to our Continent which has long been held back by wars."
Congratulations Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for your efforts to resolve border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea. It is an honour to our Continent which has long been held back by wars.
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) October 11, 2019
UN General Secretary António Guterres said Ali has set a wonderful example.
"His vision helped Ethiopia and Eritrea achieve a historic rapprochement & his leadership has set a wonderful example for others in & beyond Africa," Guterres said.
Congratulations to Prime Minister @AbiyAhmedAli of Ethiopia for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 11, 2019
Reiss-Andersen said Afwerki also deserves credit for working with Ethiopia to achieve peace.
"Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone," Reiss-Andersen said. "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."
The Office of the Prime Minister in Ethiopia released a statement, saying the recognition is a testimony to Ali's efforts in bringing unity, cooperation and mutual coexistence.
According to the statement, Ali has released thousands of political prisoners and granted the amnesty of media entities and political parties charged under the anti-terrorism law to return from exile.
"Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assumed political leadership in April 2018, he has made peace, forgiveness and reconciliation key policy components of his administration," the statement said.
Reiss-Andersen said Ali has also increased the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life, while pledging to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.
The Nobel Committee chair added that there is still a lot of work to do in Ethiopia.
"As prime minister, Abiy Ahmed has sought to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice," Reiss-Andersen said. "However, many challenges remain unresolved. Ethnic strife continues to escalate, and we have seen troubling examples of this in recent weeks and months."
According to CNN, Ali beat out 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg and New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern to win the award.