Nobel Peace Prize for Abiy Ahmed

Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of Ethopia since April 2018, has been named the winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in solving the border conflict with Eritrea. Not all commentators are satisfied with the decision.

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Dnevnik (SI) /

Prize sends the right message

Abiy Ahmed more than deserves the prize, Dnevnik writes:

“Pushing through the reconciliation with Eritrea isn't the only resolute stance he has taken. He has also implemented profound political, economic and democratic reforms. That too took a great deal of political courage because it involved stepping on the wrong people's toes. He made political enemies, and this year the army tried to launch a coup d'état in the north. Ahmed is also active in international politics and took part in attempts to solve at least three conflicts in Africa. This Nobel Peace Prize is also a message to other leading politicians not only in Africa where, along with Asia and the Middle East, the number of conflicts is still the highest.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Ethiopia's reform path has only just begun

Excessive euphoria about the situation in Ethiopia is out of place, The Guardian warns:

“The sweeping reforms have inevitably made enemies as well as inspiring support; in June, the prime minister said that the government had seen off a coup. His dismantling of complex institutions has had some unforeseen repercussions. The overhaul and reining in of a brutal security apparatus in part accounts for the upsurge in ethnic conflicts around the country. And the changes have yet to be institutionalised. While he has promised free and fair elections next year, some worry that there is still not a clear enough roadmap for political progress.”

Ria Nowosti (RU) /

It takes two to sign a peace agreement

Ria Novosti finds it illogical that Ahmed's counterpart in the peace agreement, the Eritrean dictator Afwerki, was not also honoured:

“This is probably due to the fact that Afwerki doesn't exactly fit in with democratic ideals. He has ruled unchallenged since 1993, elections are not held, a parliament is not convened and there is only one party: the People's Front for Democracy and Justice, which is headed by Afwerki himself. ... On the other hand, in the statutes that apply for the prize there is something about efforts for peace, which both African rulers have also undertaken - but there is nothing about exemplary democratic order. The PLO leader Arafat, who received the prize in 1994 together with Peres and Rabin, was no textbook democrat either, but his agreement with the Israelis was considered reason enough for him to receive the award.”

Iltalehti (FI) /

Not a popularity contest

It's a good thing Greta Thunberg didn't win the prize, Iltalehti writes with a sigh of relief:

“The Western public was all set to give her the prize. But what it really wanted to do was reward itself. After all, we've all participated in climate protests or know people who have. And at the very least, we've read about them in the papers or liked stories about them on social media. But liking posts on social media does nothing to further peace. ... So it's a good thing that the Nobel Peace Prize isn't a popularity contest where the person who's the most talked about on social media and in the media in general has the best chances of winning.”