Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel peace prize

FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 file photo, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at the European Council headquarters in Brussels. The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize was given to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday Oct. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Fr

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 in recognition of his efforts to end his country's two-decade border conflict with Eritrea.

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The Norwegian Nobel Institute on Friday also praised the "important reforms" that Abiy, Ethiopia's leader since April 2018, has launched at home.

The prize comes as Abiy faces pressure to uphold the sweeping freedoms he introduced, and critics warn that his ability to deal with rising domestic unrest may be slipping.

The award reflects the committee's taste for trying to encourage works in progress.

"We are proud as a nation!!!" Abiy's office said in a tweet.

Abiy, 43, took office after widespread protests pressured the longtime ruling coalition and hurt one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Africa's youngest leader quickly announced dramatic reforms and "Abiymania" began.

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On taking office, Abiy surprised people by fully accepting a peace deal ending a 20-year border war between the two East African nations that saw tens of thousands of people killed. Ethiopia and Eritrea had not had diplomatic ties since the war began in 1998, with Abiy himself once fighting in a town that remained contested at the time of his announcement last year.

Since 1901, 99 Nobel Peace Prizes have been handed out, to individuals and 24 organizations. While the other prizes are announced in Stockholm, the peace prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

So far this week, 11 Nobel laureates have been named. The others received their awards for their achievements in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature.

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With the glory comes a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.