TEHRAN (Iran News) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed collected the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Tuesday, appealing for unity as ethnic violence flares in his country and reconciliation efforts with neighboring former foe Eritrea have stalled, AFP reported. Abiy, 43, won the 2019 Nobel Peace for his efforts to resolve the long-running […]
TEHRAN (Iran News) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed collected the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Tuesday, appealing for unity as ethnic violence flares in his country and reconciliation efforts with neighboring former foe Eritrea have stalled, AFP reported.
Abiy, 43, won the 2019 Nobel Peace for his efforts to resolve the long-running conflict with Eritrea. Announced back in October, the prize also honored his mediation efforts in eastern Africa and the democratic reforms he has undertaken in his country, long ruled by authoritarian leaders.
Ethiopia saw spectacular progress in the months after Abiy took power in April 2018, but the winds have since shifted: In addition to the stalled peace process with Eritrea, his reforms aimed at opening up Ethiopia have paradoxically given rise to a flare-up of ethnic tensions.
Faced with these challenges, Africa’s youngest leader called for unity as he picked up his award at Oslo’s flower-bedecked City Hall, in a formal ceremony attended by the Norwegian royal family and dignitaries.
“There is no ‘Us and Them’,” he said. “There is only ‘Us’, for ‘We’ are all bound by a shared destiny of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.”
On July 9, 2018, following a historic meeting in Eritrea’s capital Asmara, Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki formally ended a 20-year-old stalemate between their countries in the wake of the 1998-2000 border conflict.
That was just three months after Abiy took office.
On Tuesday, Abiy was quick to praise the role of his Eritrean “partner and comrade-in-peace” – the only leader Eritrea has known since it gained independence in 1993 – in his Nobel Prize speech.
“We understood our nations are not enemies. Instead, we were victims of the common enemy called poverty,” he said.
In his Nobel speech, he denounced the “evangelists of hate and division” who are “wreaking havoc in our society using social media.”
Meanwhile, the Nobel festivities have been tainted by Abiy’s refusal to field questions from the media, as the ex-intelligence chief has considerably shortened the traditional Nobel program and cut out all news conferences.
The head of the Nobel Institute, Olav Njolstad, called the decision “highly problematic,” noting that a “free press and freedom of expression are essential conditions for a lasting peace in a democracy.”
Abiy’s entourage responded that it was “quite challenging” for a sitting leader to spend several days at such an event, especially when “domestic issues are pressing and warrant attention.”
They also said Abiy’s “humble disposition” contrasted with “the very public nature of the Nobel award.”
2019 Nobel Peace Prize consists of a diploma, a gold medal and a cheque for nine million Swedish kronor (850,000 euros, $945,000).
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews