Abiy Ahmed could do without the traditional press conference following the Nobel Peace Prize awarded last October. A decision « problematic » according to the committee that recalls that it is part of the tradition of this prestigious award.
The committee had scheduled a meeting between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the Norwegian and international press next week in Oslo, said Olav Njoelstad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute. But Ethiopian Prime Minister Billene Seyoum’s press secretary told the Associated Press that it was « quite difficult » for a head of state to spend several days on the vast Nobel program, especially since « the national issues are urgent and deserve attention. » Although, she says, Mr. Abiy will attend key events in consultation with the Nobel Institute.
The Prime Minister, for example, is due to deliver his acceptance speech on Tuesday at Oslo City Hall to officials, including the Norwegian royal family, after receiving the cash prize of 9 million kroner ($ 945,000). , a gold medal and a diploma. He will also meet with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and inaugurate a Nobel Prize in a private ceremony.
For the organizers, however, his absence from the press conference is a departure from the tradition of the Nobel Committee. « We were very clear about this and said there are many reasons why we find this very problematic, » said Njoelstad. « I think (his absence) has to do in part with the challenges he faces internally, his religious faith and his personal humility, » said the head of the Institute. In 2009, Barack Obama, also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, also refused to talk to journalists.
Praised by the Nobel Committee for making peace with Eritrea – Ethiopia’s long-time enemy – and for its reformist policies, Abiy Ahmed is facing pressure in his country. Deadly, sometimes ethnic, turmoil has erupted in recent months and could worsen with the holding of elections in May 2020.