“No doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early…many challenges remain unresolved.” The Nobel Peace Prize Committee
October 11, 2019
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee announced on Friday that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is the winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
His initiative to end the two decades old border conflict with Eritrea soon after the ruling coalition in Ethiopia elected Abiy as Prime Minister of Ethiopia to replace Hailemariam Desalegne who resigned in February 2018 seem to be a major achievement that influenced the committee. Numerous works, however, are still underway to formalize the agreement between the two countries.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee said he won the prize for “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.”
The Committee also said that the prize is a recognition to “all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.”
In a phone conversation with Olav Njolstad,Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, soon after the committee announced the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said “I was so humbled and thrilled when I just heard the news”
The committee also considered what it called Abiy Ahmed’s key contribution in bringing about peaceful transition from military to civilian rule in Sudan following the fall of Omar Hassan Al-Bashir Government. As well, the committee highlighted his effort and contribution to resolve the dispute Kenya and Somalia.
Statement from the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee said “No doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early. The Norwegian Nobel Committee believes it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.”
However, the committee did not overlook the situation in Ethiopia. What it called “old ethnic rivalries” flaring up in the country. It also noted that about three million Ethiopians are internally displaced.
“As Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed 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.”
Although Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was very popular in the early months after he took the office, he has lost significant support based due to what many politicized Ethiopians say leniency towards enforcing the rule of law. Rising cost of living and high inflation is also seen as a chronic problem during his administration.
The prize will be presented in a ceremony in Oslo on December 10, 2019 – which is also the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
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