Abiy Ahmed praised Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki and Eritreans for the peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia
December 10, 2019
On October 11, 2019, the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize committee announced that it has selected Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy as the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Although the committee considered his domestic reform measures that led to the release of all political prisoners and gender parity parliament for the first time in the history of the continent, Ethiopia’s peace deal with Eritrea, which is considered as Abiy Ahmed’s government initiative, was considered the major factor for the committee to select Abiy Ahmed as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2019. In addition to economic and social damages of the war including displacement, nearly 100, 000 people were killed on both sides during the two years of a bloody war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
When he delivered his Nobel Lecture, Prime Minister took ample time to praise the contributions of Eritreans and President Isaias Afeworki.
Abiy Ahmed said, “…I accept this award on behalf of Ethiopians and Eritreans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace. Likewise, I accept this award on behalf of my partner and comrade in peace president Isaias Afeworki whose goodwill, trust and commitment were vital in ending the two decades deadlock between our countries…”
Abiy Ahmed’s government proposed to accept the Algiers Peace Agreement fully which is said to be a face-saving decision for the leadership in Eritrea.
In July of 2018, Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki visited Ethiopia barely weeks after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led a delegation for the first time.
The agreement between the two countries ended two decades of no-peace-no-war relation leading to the normalization of relations. Direct telecommunication line resumed between the two countries, Ethiopian Airlines started scheduled weekly flights to Asmara, Ethiopian embassy in Eritrea re-opened and Eritrea reopened its embassy in Addis Ababa. Families who were separated during the years of the conflict were reunited. Although there are critical voices claiming that the peace process is slowing down, the governments of the two countries say that they are working on bilateral agreements that would make the two countries mutually beneficial. They have already embarked on road projects intended to facilitate economic integration in the context of regional economic integration.
Abiy’s speech highlighted the economic and social relevance of the peace process. Ethiopians, despite differences with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s political views, hailed him for his achievement. Hundreds of Ethiopians came to Oslo City Hall, where the event took place to celebrate Abiy Ahmed’s Peace Prize.
One the other hand, there was a protest in Oslo outside of the City Hall against Abiy Ahmed by what Eritrean news source called “TPLF supporters” living in Norway as Eritreans. These protestors carried the Eritrean flag and called for economic and military sanctions against Eritrea. They also called for Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki is charged at the International Criminal Court (ICC). On the other hand, the protestors have called for the release of TPLF generals who are in prison in connection with corruption charges.
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