By Addis Getachew and Olarewaju Kola
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia/MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AA) – The African Union in a statement on Friday congratulated Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2019 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
"The Chairperson [Moussa Faki Mahamat] applauds this important global recognition of African leadership to Silence the Guns through African solutions to African problems as demonstrated by Prime Minister Abiy, to promote stability and sustainable development in his country, in the Region and on the Continent as a whole," read the statement by the continental union.
The Nobel Peace Prize 2019 has been accorded to Ethiopia’s progressive leader that he set in motion.
Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari has also congratulated Ahmed for winning the prize.
The president considered the Oslo award to the Ethiopian leader a good sign for peace processes in African countries and other nations, Buhari spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement on Friday.
"African development is strongly tied to peaceful co-existence, and deliberate efforts by governments and people to sustain harmony within and between countries," he added.
He called for more "concerted and collective partnership" on peace in the African continent.
Buhari also expressed hope that the global recognition will spur more interest on issues of peace in Africa, and drive home more benefits, according to the statement.
The Nobel Committee on Friday said: ''Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side-effects, and will help to strengthen fraternity among nations and peoples in the region. With the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will firmly in mind, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sees Abiy Ahmed as the person who in the preceding year has done the most to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019.''
Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993.
From 1998 to 2000, the two countries fought a war in which 70,000 people perished.
The two countries reached a peace deal last year, ending a 20-year military conflict, thanks to Abiy who initiated peace talks with Eritrea soon after he was elected as prime minister in April 2018.