Tags: nobel prize | peace | ethiopia | abiy ahmed

Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during the Ethiopia-Korea Business Forum in Seoul, South Korea
Nobel Laureate Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during the Ethiopia-Korea Business Forum in Seoul, South Korea. (Lee Jin-man/AP)

Friday, 11 October 2019 06:06 AM EDT

The 2019 Nobel Peace has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Abiy was cited for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chairwoman of the five-member Norwegian Nobel Institute that awards the Nobel Peace Prize said Abiy was named for his moves to end his country's conflict with next door Eritrea within months of coming to office in 2018. He signed a "Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship," with Eritrean Prime Minister Isaias Afwerki.

Within the Nobel Peace Prize there is a long history of prizes going to statesmen associated with ending conflicts, most recently Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos who was awarded the prize in 2016 for helping to bring his country's 50 year civil war to an end.

The United Nations secretary-general says he has often said "winds of hope are blowing ever stronger across Africa" and Ethiopia's prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner is one of the main reasons why.

Antonio Guterres in a statement says he was honored to witness the signing of the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea last year that ended one of Africa's longest-running conflicts.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute on Friday cited that peace deal and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's sweeping political reforms as reasons for the award.

The U.N. chief also says the peace agreement opened up new opportunities for the long-turbulent Horn of Africa region to enjoy security and stability.

NATO's secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg says Abiy, the 2019 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has "demonstrated that with patience, courage and conviction, peace is possible. "

Stoltenberg congratulated Abiy on Twitter.

Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said that Abiy "must now make resolving ethnic tensions within Ethiopia a priority and work tirelessly to bring peace to his people."

In a statement, Egeland described Abiy as "Africa's youngest leader" who made peace with Eritrea after almost 20 years of hostilities. "He released political prisoners and journalists, unbanned opposition groups and appointed women to his cabinet, all within a year of being in office."

Human rights and humanitarian groups are urging new Abiy to uphold and build on the dramatic reforms that led to his award.

Amnesty International secretary Kumi Naidoo says in a statement "Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's work is far from done. This award should push and motivate him to tackle the outstanding human rights challenges that threaten to reverse the gains made so far. He must urgently ensure that his government addresses the ongoing ethnic tensions that threaten instability and further human rights abuses."

The secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, says he was "astounded" by Ethiopia's recent achievements but added he was "equally struck by meeting many of the millions of displaced Ethiopians as a result of ethnic violence" that has followed the lifting of repressive measures.

The office of Ethiopia's prime minister is celebrating his Nobel Peace Prize win and calling on "all Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to continue standing on the side of peace."

The tweet sharing the statement adds jubilantly: "We are proud as a nation!!!"

Abiy won after announcing sweeping political reforms that included making peace with longtime rival Eritrea and ending one of Africa's longest-running conflicts. The 43-year-old also shocked observers by releasing tens of thousands of prisoners and welcoming home once-banned opposition groups.

Ethiopia's statement adds "this recognition is a timeless testimony to the 'medemer' ideals of unity, cooperation and mutual coexistence that the prime minister has been consistently championing," using a local term for "unity."

Names that were flying for the award included 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and activists in Hong Kong.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute could also choose to acknowledge United Nations' World Food Program, or the joint leadership of two prime ministers — Greece's Alexis Tsipras and North Macedonia's Zoran Zaev — who brought an end to 30 years of acrimony between their nations.

While the other prizes are announced in Stockholm, the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

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Cited for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, the 2019 Nobel Peace prize has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
nobel prize, peace, ethiopia, abiy ahmed
Friday, 11 October 2019 06:06 AM
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