Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday vowed the country’s continued support for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was named the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize the same day.
In a congratulatory message to Abiy, Abe said, “I have been deeply impressed by his outstanding leadership in such efforts as the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Eritrea after 20 years of severance, mediation in the peace processes in South Sudan and in Sudan, as well as his domestic reform efforts in Ethiopia.”
“Japan intends to continuously support the efforts made by Prime Minister Abiy in promoting peace and stability both at home and abroad,” Abe added.
In August, Abiy was in Japan to attend the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD 7, held in Yokohama. On the sidelines of the conference, Abe held a bilateral meeting with Abiy and pledged Japan’s assistance for his reform efforts through various measures, including election support.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday announced that the 43-year-old Ethiopian prime minister was the winner of the 2019 peace prize “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.”
After being named prime minister in April 2018, Abiy started to accelerate efforts to mend fences with Eritrea.
In July that year, he held a summit with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and recognized Eritrea’s ownership of a disputed border area. The two leaders signed a joint statement to end the conflict and normalize Ethiopia-Eritrea relations.
The border conflict began in 1998, and about 100,000 people are estimated to have died until a cease-fire agreement was reached in 2000.