‘I saved a big war’ – Trump laments 2019 Nobel snub as Ethiopia’s Ahmed wins

January 10, 2020 at 07:30 am | News

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

January 10, 2020 at 07:30 am | News

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks from the White House on January 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. During his remarks Trump addressed the Iranian missile attacks that took place last night in Iraq. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Days after ordering the killing of Iran’s top general and threatening to hit the country’s military and cultural sites “harder than they have ever been hit before” President Donald Trump has now turned his attention to the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, won the Peace Prize last year for ending the longstanding border dispute between his country and Eritrea.

He signed a peace pact with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to end the hostilities that began with a two-year border war in 1998 and deteriorated into 18 years of stalemated relations in 2018.

Announcing the winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said the award was to recognize Ahmed’s “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and in particular his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea”.

Last year, a dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over an upstream Nile dam escalated over the hydropower barrage.

Ethiopia is building a $4 billion dam on the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Nile River, near the border with Sudan, saying the project is necessary to provide the country with much-needed electricity.

Egypt feared that the dam could stem the flow of the Nile, on which it depends for around 90 percent of its water supply.

Months of negotiations between the two countries failed to make any breakthrough, spurring fears of a military conflict between Cairo and Addis Ababa until Trump intervened to diffuse the tension, meeting with foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to discuss the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile.

However, speaking at an election rally in Ohio on Thursday, Trump questioned the thinking that went into announcing the Ethiopian Prime Minister the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

He believes he should have been the winner after saving Ethiopia from war.

Twenty-five minutes into his campaign rally speech in Toledo, Ohio, in which he strongly defended his order to kill Qasem Soleimani, Trump descended on the Norwegian Nobel Committee, criticizing the choice of Abiy instead of him.

“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 ‘did I have something to do with it?’ Yeah. But you know that’s the way it is. As long as we know, that’s all that matters. I saved a big war, I saved a couple of ‘em’,” Trump said.

Ninety-nine individuals and 24 organizations have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prizes since 1901. Last year, the award went to Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege and Yazidi activist Nadia Murad – for their relentless fight against sexual violence.

Three hundred and one candidates were put forward for this year’s award. The Committee will make public their names after 50 years.

Trump was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize last autumn by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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