Updated: March 8, 2021
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has responded to Donald Trump, advising the American leader to take his complaint about being overlooked by the committee to the award organizers.
Mr. Abiy, who was credited for his move to make peace with neighboring Eritrea, told reporters in South Africa where he was on his first official visit at the weekend that he was not aware of the criteria used to select him.
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He said he was “not working for the prize” but for “peace in the region”.
“I don’t have any clue about the criteria, how the Nobel committee selects an individual for the prize,” he said.
“If President Trump complained it must go to Oslo not to Ethiopia,” he added.
President Trump told supporters at a political rally last week that he had helped avert a war in “a country” and expressed surprise that his efforts were not recognized while the leader of that country received the Peace Prize.
In essence, Mr. Trump asserted that although Abiy and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki signed the peace deal, it he and American diplomats who made that possible, and not the actors who were seen on television screens putting pen on paper.
“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,” he said.
Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bitter war for years, and although a ceasefire was signed in 2000, both countries technically remained at war until July 2018, when Mr Abiy and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki signed a peace deal.
For two decades, the long border between both neighboring countries was closed, dividing families and making trade impossible.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee argued that Mr Abiy was honored for his “decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”.
It was not clear while the Eritrean counterpart was overlooked and American diplomats who worked behind the scene were ignored.