Ethiopia’s Abiy calls for meeting with Eritrean leader

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said yesterday he wanted to meet with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki “soon” in a possible bid to jumpstart the stalled reconciliation process that earned Abiy the Nobel Peace Prize.

Abiy delivered a brief statement on his arrival at Addis Ababa airport after picking up the prize in Norway, where he studiously avoided media engagement.

“I want to thank Ethiopians and Eritreans. I want to especially thank President Isaias Afwerki, and I hope we will meet soon,” he said. Abiy won the Nobel in large part for reaching out to Isaias last year, creating momentum for a deal that formally ended a two-decade stalemate stemming from the two countries’ 1998-2000 border war.

But during the award ceremony in Oslo on Tuesday, Norwegian Nobel Committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Anderson noted that the peace process “seems to be at a standstill”, with border crossings closed and little apparent progress on border demarcation efforts.