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Ethiopian PM responds to Trump's scathing attack over Nobel Peace Prize

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopian PM Ahmed Abiy has said that he doesn't have a clue on how Nobel Peace committee selects winners, in a response to Donald Trump's comments.

While speaking in Toledo, Ohio last week, Trump seemed to question the Nobel Peace Prize committee over the selection of 2019 winners.

Although he did not mention Ahmed's victory directly, Trump's comments seemingly targeted the PM, arguing that he was not a deserving winner.

"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?’" he said.

Trump was referring to his efforts to mediate a possible crisis in the Horn of Africa where Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt were parties.

The United States mediated the controversy in building the Grand Renaissance dam by Ethiopia, which sparked rebellion from Cairo and Khartoum.

Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Committee said, received the prize for "his efforts in ending a two-decade conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea".

Eritrea had often accused Ethiopia of forceful grabbing of her land, a crisis that substantially affected the relationship between the two nations.

Unmoved with the comments, Mr. Ahmed said: "I don't have any clue about the criteria used by the committee on selection of individuals."

Further, he added, "So, the issue of President Trump must go to the Nobel Prize Committee."

The Ethiopian PM received the prize in December at Oslo where he snubbed the media contrary to the committee's tradition, Norwegian media said.

And the PM now says he was not much concerned about individual awards, adding that his main concern is promoting peace in the region.

"I am not working for the prize. I am working that peace is a very critical thing for our region and if they recognize and if President Trump complained, it must go to Oslo, not to Ethiopia," he said.

Besides his role in shaping the regional peace and integration, Ahmed has also spearheaded radical reforms within Ethiopia since taking over in 2018.

Among critical reforms achieved include freedoms of expression and media, which were overlooked by previous administrations, local media said.

To amalgamate the multi-ethnic Ethiopian population, Abiy has folded the EPRDF coalition for a single party, the Prosperity Party.

But the reforms have been linked to current ethnic violence in the country, which has almost destabilize the government's agenda.

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee wasted no time jumping on what they believed to be a gaffe by Trump.

"Trump is confused. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring peace to the Horn of Africa, not stalled negotiations about a new dam on the Nile," the committee said on its Twitter account on January 10.

"If they gave the Nobel for deals that didn’t happen, the Pres. would have a shelf full of them," the Foreign Affairs Committee Twitter account stated.

In the US, Trump remains a divisive figure, with his recent impeachment by the Congress showcasing a defeated face of an embattled President.

Last week, Trump was also accused of ordering the murder of Gen Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian commander, causing anxiety between Washington and Tehran.


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