Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on Tuesday (10 December).
Abiy described the award as “a source of great pride and inspiration for Ethiopia and the broader region”, assuring that it would give a significant boost to his “commitment to the twin goals of development in Ethiopia and the entire continent”.
The 42-year-old Ethiopian leader recognised that the road ahead of his mission was fraught with “enormous challenges and expectations” against the background of the ongoing momentous changes in his country. “The immense task of building a pluralistic democracy based on respect for basic human rights and rule of law has begun in earnest,” he however assured.
“Our problems are far from being resolved. But with Medemer as our guiding philosophy, we are determined to ensure that Ethiopians are free from fear and want, that their hearts and borders remain open to new ideas and opportunities, and that, together, they shall overcome.”
The prime minister thanked the Nobel Committee for highlighting the cause of peace, justice and human dignity in the world.
Abiy Ahmed was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for “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 Nobel committee said the coveted prize was also meant to recognize all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.
Abiy made peace with Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki last year that ended 20 years of the “no peace, no war” stalemate between the two countries, which fought a border war from 1998 to 2000 that killed an estimated 70,000 people from both sides. The two leaders have been praised for their vision, courage and statesmanship to end the war and bring about peace between their two countries.
Abiy said his horrifying experiences as a young Ethiopian soldier during the war informed his determination to seek the end of the conflict.
The Ethiopian leader said he accepted the award also on behalf of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, saying his goodwill, trust and commitment, were “vital in ending the two-decade deadlock between our countries”.