PM Abiy Ahmed Ali wins Nobel Peace Prize 2019

Photo: Niklas Elmehed. © Nobel Media.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali wins this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for his instrumental work in ending the decades-old cold war between Ethiopia and its neighboring country, Eritrea, the Nobel Committee announced today.

The Prime Minister was recognized by the most distinguished award-giving body “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.”

Abiy Ahmed Ali, which now joins the ranks of global shapers and peacekeepers like Malala Yusafsai and Barack Obama, became prime minister of Ethiopia, an African country, back in 2018. The Nobel Committee said that Abiy Ahmed Ali’s win of the notable Nobel Peace Prize is not only a recognition of his work but also extends to “all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.”

The Nobel Committee praised Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for spending his first 100 days in office “lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalising outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life.”

The highlight of the Prime Minister’s career is his efforts to end the long “no peace, no war” stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The organization highlights the bravery of Abiy Ahmed Ali in initiating the peace talks between the two African territories and by accepting the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002 that has led to the end of an era of the cold war between the two countries.

Nonetheless, in the announcement of the Prime Minister’s win, the Nobel Committee also recognizes the role of President Afwerki of Eritrea in achieving peace between the two countries.

“Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone. 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 Committee said in a press release.

Aside from his efforts in ending the cold war between his country and Eritrea, Abiy Ahmed Ali also heavily engaged in peace negotiations to reconcile conflicting nations in East and Northeast Africa. In September 2018, he and the Ethiopian government played an instrumental role in reconciling the conflict between Eritrea and Djibouti. Abiy Ahmed Ali also mediated in the peace talks between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area.

Because of Abiy Ahmed Ali, “there is now hope for a resolution to this conflict,” the Committee wrote.

Abiy Ahmed Ali is the latest laureate to be announced this week – the Nobel Week. Winners and laureates in other fields such as medicine, chemistry, physics, and literature have already been announced in the last four days. On Monday, the Committee is also set to announce the winner of the economic prize.

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