Trump says someone else got his Nobel peace prize
BY TESFANEWS *
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.
Trump believes he should have been the winner after saving Ethiopia from war.
Why, what did he say?
“I’m going to tell you about the Nobel Peace Prize, I’ll tell you about that. 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: ‘What, did I have something 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’ve saved a couple of them.”
Although he did not name the Nobel Peace Prize winner or the country, it is clear that Mr Trump was referring to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, won the Peace Prize last year for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea starting with accepting the international border ruling unconditionally, something his predecessor failed to accept.
He then 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.
Did Trump help broker peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea?
Not really – the US’s influence in the peace talks was minimal. The United Arab Emirates, which has a lot of influence in the Horn of Africa, was key in helping to bring the two parties together.
Saudi Arabia also played a key role in helping end the dispute.
One senior Ethiopian official, however, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that Mr Trump must be talking about Ethiopia and Egypt.
Last year, a dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over an upstream Nile dam escalated over the hydro-power 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.
“President Trump really believes he avoided a war as such … but that was not the case,” the Ethiopia official said.
Why did Trump make the comments now?
This is not clear, given that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on 11 October last year, and Mr Abiy gave his acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway, on 10 December.
Interestingly, Mr Trump has not officially congratulated Mr Abiy but his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who serves as his senior adviser, and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have done so.
However, Mr Trump has publicly touted his achievements, including denuclearisation talks with North Korea Kim Jong-un, as warranting the Nobel Peace Prize.
Trump is confused.
PM @AbiyAhmedAli was awarded the @NobelPrize for his efforts to bring peace to the Horn of Africa, not stalled negotiations about a new dam on the Nile.
If they gave the Nobel for deals that didn’t happen, the Pres. would have a shelf full of them. #Ethiopia https://t.co/WhJ6nLvb6Z
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) January 10, 2020
* The BBC, Associated Press and Face 2 Face Africa have contributed to the story.