The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awarded the prestigious Peace Prize, issued a very rare warning to 2019 laureate Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed about the war and humanitarian crisis in the country’s Tigray region
“As Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Abiy Ahmed has a special responsibility to end the conflict and promote peace,” the Oslo-based committee said in a statement.
Abiy was awarded in part for reaching peace with neighboring Eritrea after one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts.
“It must be emphasized that Abiy Ahmed’s award was based on his efforts and the reasonable expectations that existed in 2019,” the committee said, adding that “historical contexts include authoritarian regimes and a wide range of ethnicities. conflict.”
In November 2020, after political tensions erupted into war, Abiy’s government allowed Eritrean troops to enter Tigray as they worked together to hunt down Tigray leaders. Tens of thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have faced famine as the Ethiopian government withheld almost all food and medical aid from Tigray since late June.
“Since the fall of 2020, developments in Ethiopia have escalated into a full-scale armed conflict,” the statement said. “The humanitarian situation is so dire that it is unacceptable that humanitarian aid is not fully present.”
The conflict entered a new phase in late December, when Tigray forces retreated to their area in a new military offensive, and Ethiopian forces said they would not advance further there.
The committee also said its deliberations were confidential. “Furthermore, it is not our role to continue to comment on developments in Ethiopia, or to assess the status of Peace Prize recipients after they have been awarded.”
Associated Press writer Karaanna in Nairobi contributed to this report.