Ethiopians puzzled as Trump claims hand in Nobel Peace Prize

10 January 2020, 16:14

US President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio
Election 2020 Trump. Picture: PA

‘President Trump really believes he avoided a war as such … but that was not the case,’ an Ethiopian official said.

Video of Donald Trump saying he had a hand in the latest Nobel Peace Prize has gone viral in Ethiopia after the US president asserted that he had “made a deal” to save the country.

The comments during a rally in the US do not mention the East African country by name, but Mr Trump says: “I just heard the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country. … Did I have something to do with it? Yeah. But that’s the way it is.”

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accepted the prize in December for making peace with longtime rival Eritrea and other reforms.

Mr Trump almost never comments on Africa, and some critics have said his administration has neglected African issues.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed poses for the media after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize (Hakon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix via AP)

Many Ethiopians were puzzled by Mr Trump’s remarks.

Some said his talk of a deal must have referred to the new peace with Eritrea.

But one senior Ethiopian official said the remarks referred to preventing further tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt over a massive dam that Ethiopia is completing on the Nile river.

Egypt says the dam threatens its water supply but Ethiopia says it is needed for development.

Ministers from the countries, plus Sudan, are expected to meet in Washington on Monday to report on the failure of their latest round of talks.

“He was talking about Egypt and Ethiopia,” the official with Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said.

The official asserted that Egypt’s president lobbied Mr Trump over the disputed dam project, leading to the US taking a role in the discussions.

“President Trump really believes he avoided a war as such … but that was not the case,” the official said.

By Press Association

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