By Hassan Isilow
Abiy Ahmed Ali received award last year for his initiative to resolve his country’s border conflict with Eritrea. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali said Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent complaint about not receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for resolving Ethiopia’s decades-long border conflict with Eritrea should be brought up with the selection committee.
“The issue of President Trump must go to the Nobel Peace Prize committee. I’m not aware of how they select someone,” Ali said in reply to a reporter’s question in South Africa’s capital Pretoria.
The journalist had sought Abiy’s view on what he thought about Trump’s complaint.
Abiy said his efforts were not aimed at obtaining the prize but because peace is very critical to the region.
He added that if Trump complained, the issue must be taken up in Oslo, not Ethiopia.
Last week, Trump suggested he was overlooked for last year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
“I made a deal. I saved a country, and I just heard that the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country. I said: ‘What, did I have something to do with it?’ Yeah, but you know, that’s the way it is. As long as we know, that’s all that matters,” Trump said in a video clip shared on Twitter of him speaking at a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio on Thursday.
Trump did not mention the leader of the country, but it was obvious that he was referring to the Ethiopian prime minister, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.
Experts say the deal Trump was referring to was his offer to help mediate a dispute between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over a proposed dam on the Nile River.
The Nobel Peace Prize committee said 43- year-old Abiy, Africa’s youngest leader, was awarded the prize for resolving the bitter border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.
The neighboring countries fought a border war between 1998 and 2000, leading to the deaths of some 80,000 people and bitter relations for two decades.
Abiy also championed political and social reforms in Ethiopia, a country that was previously governed by leaders accused of being unsympathetic to their people.
He also promoted gender equality in Ethiopia as well as the release of political prisoners and journalists and a commitment to national elections later this year.