By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday.
The prize was given to Abiy for his “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea,” a spokeswoman said at the committee’s press conference in Oslo.
“The prize is also meant to recognize all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions,” the statement said.
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation,” it added.
The Nobel Committee said: “Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side-effects, and will help to strengthen fraternity among nations and peoples in the region. With the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will firmly in mind, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sees Abiy Ahmed as the person who in the preceding year has done the most to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019.”
Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993.
From 1998 to 2000, the two countries fought a war in which 70,000 people perished.
The two countries reached a peace deal last year, ending a 20-year military conflict, thanks to Abiy who initiated peace talks with Eritrea soon after he was elected as prime minister in April 2018.