The Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali on October 11. The Ethiopian leader received this year’s peace prize for “his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.” The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that the prize also meant to recognise the efforts of all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.
In April 2018, Abiy Ahmed Ali became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and wished to resume peace talks with Eritrea. Within four months, Ali was able to broker a peace deal and signed the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship with Eritrea. After the deal, the two countries resumed trade and diplomatic ties. The war between the two African countries lasted almost 20 years which claimed thousands of lives. The hostility was up to a point where communication lines between the countries were cut-off and no leaders of the two nations had visited either side since 1998.
The committee commended Abiy Ahmed for quickly working out the “principles of a peace agreement to end the long ‘no peace, no war’ stalemate”. It acknowledged the initiative of the Ethiopian Prime Minister for bringing in important reforms. In a press release, the committee said:
“As Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has sought to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice...The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee also praised Prime Minister Abiy for engaging in other peace and reconciliation processes in East and Northeast Africa.
“Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict,” said the committee.