Oslo, Norway, Nov 16 – The Nobel Committee that awarded Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed the 2019 Peace Prize said on Monday it was “deeply concerned” about fighting in the country and appealed for deescalation.
“The Committee is following developments in Ethiopia closely and is deeply concerned,” its secretary Olav Njolstad told AFP.
“It reiterates today what it said before, namely that all parties involved share responsibility for halting the escalation of violence and contributing to resolving differences and conflicts by peaceful means.”
The Nobel Committee’s five members are appointed by the Norwegian parliament, and it is extremely rare for it to comment on a past Peace Prize laureate.
In 2019, Abiy was honoured for his efforts to heal divisions with Eritrea, long an enemy of Ethiopia, as well as for his democratic reforms at home.
But he has come under fire since launching a military campaign against dissident northern region Tigray.
Almost 25,000 Ethiopians have already fled the fighting and the crisis risks destabilising the entire region.
“In 2019, and still today, the Committee thought that Abiy Ahmed was the candidate among the 300 nominated who best fulfilled” the Peace Prize criteria laid out by founder Alfred Nobel, the group said.
Several past peace laureates later saw their aura tarnished, including former US president Barack Obama and Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
But there is no provision in the Nobel statutes for rescinding the prize once it has been awarded.