International desk – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his peacemaking efforts with Eritrea to end a two-decade military stalemate after their 1998-2000 war.
The Nobel committee on Friday announced the award in Oslo from among 301 candidates – persons and institutes –nominated for this year’s award for peace.
The committee awarded Ahmed, a 43-year old politician, for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation.
Ethiopia reached a peace deal with Eritrea last year, ending a 20-year military stalemate following their 1998-2000 border war, according to BBC.
Ahmed will receive the award, worth about nine million Swedish crowners or 900,000 US dollars in December this year.
Ahmed introduced massive liberalizing reforms to Ethiopia after he became Prime Minister of the country. He also freed thousands of opposition activists from the jailed and allowed the exiled dissidents back home.
He signed a peace agreement with Ethiopia’s neighbour Eritrea, ending a two-decade conflict.
But his reforms also lifted the lid on Ethiopia’s ethnic tensions, and the resulting violence forced some 2.5 million people from their homes.
Abiy was awarded for his “decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea,” according to a statement by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
It added, “The prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.”
“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 formalise 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.”
Former US President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples”.
Other notable Nobel Peace Prize winners include former US President Jimmy Carter (2002), child education activist Malala Yousafzai (shared 2014), the European Union (2012), the United Nations and its then-general-secretary, Kofi Annan, (shared 2001) and Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1979).