Ethiopian PM has ‘special responsibility’ to end Tigray conflict: Nobel panel

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Ethiopian PM has ‘special responsibility’ to end Tigray conflict: Nobel panel

Oslo (AFP) – The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the Nobel Peace Prize, said Thursday that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the honor in 2019, bears special responsibility for ending the bloodshed in Tigray.

“As Prime Minister and Peace Prize laureate, Abiy Ahmed has a special responsibility to end conflict and contribute to peace,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the committee, said in a statement. AFP.

Northern Ethiopia has been embroiled in conflict since November 2020, when Ahmed sent troops into Tigray after accusing the region’s ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) party of Attacks on Federal Army Camps.

Fighting between forces loyal to Abiy and the TPLF and their allies has killed thousands and forced many millions from their homes.

Tigray is under what the United Nations calls a de facto blockade that prevents millions of people, including hundreds of thousands in near-starvation conditions, from receiving lifesaving medicine and food.

“The humanitarian situation is very serious and it is not acceptable that humanitarian aid is not getting through enough,” Reiss-Andersen said.

Speaking at a press conference, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth called on countries to pressure Abiy to allow aid to flow.

“The big threat is the Ethiopian government blocking desperately needed humanitarian aid for millions of people in the region,” Roth told reporters.

“This is a classic case of collective punishment. It is not about punishing the military forces of Tigray. It is about punishing the people… of Tigray,” he added. not possible under the statutes of the prize.

The Norwegian panel said it could not comment on the factors put forward when awarding the prize to Abiy beyond “reasons given in relation to the prize” because panel discussions are confidential.

Abiy’s award “was given based on his efforts and the legitimate expectations that existed in 2019,” Reiss-Andersen said.

“The peace initiatives that Abiy Ahmed launched and for which he received the Nobel Prize were based on his contribution to the peace agreement with Eritrea and his comprehensive political initiative for democracy and the development of civil rights” , she added.

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