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In January 2019 Pope Francis met Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed In January 2019 Pope Francis met Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed  (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Prime Minister Abiy wins Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopia’s charismatic Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019. It recognises his efforts to end hostilities between his country with Eritrea as well as the many positive reforms he has introduced.

Paul Samasumo – Vatican City

Chairperson Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Norwegian Nobel Institute announced Abiy’s recognition on Friday.

Initiated important reforms

Prime Minister Abiy, Africa’s youngest leader at 43, has introduced so many positive changes that the country is sometimes said to be trying to catch up with him.

Abiy critics and hardliners point to the fact that Eritrea has not reciprocated Ethiopia’s peace overtures. Berit Reiss-Andersen, however, said, “It is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts need recognition and deserve encouragement.”

According to the Nobel Institute, even if much work remains to be done in Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future. He spent his first 100 days as Prime Minister lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalising outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life. He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.

Pope Francis praised the leadership of Abiy

Pope Francis received, in private audience, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister in January this year.

According to a communique released by the Vatican’s Press Office, at the time, the Holy See and Prime Minister Abiy had held cordial discussions.

On 7 January, Pope Francis praised Ethiopia under the leadership of Abiy for the historic agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

“In the course of the past year, there have been some significant signs of peace, starting with the historic agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, which puts an end to twenty years of conflict and restores diplomatic relations between the two countries,” the Holy Father told diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

Good news from Ethiopia

Earlier, on 1 July 2018, after the Angelus in St Peter Square, Pope Francis demonstrated that he had been following events in Ethiopia.

“In the midst of many, I would like to highlight an initiative that can be described as historical, and that is good news: in these days, after 20 years, the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea are talking of peace,” the Holy Father told crowds in St Peter Square.

11 October 2019, 12:35