Nobel Peace Prize winner says Ethiopia is 'readied' for war, 11 days after award

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made the comments in a parliamentary session Tuesday.

October 22, 2019, 9:57 AM

LONDON -- Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, claimed his country was "readied" if there was a need to go to war with Egypt, just 11 days after winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

In a parliamentary session on Tuesday Ahmed, 43, warned that he could get “millions readied” if there was a need to go to war over a contested dam project, although he called for negotiations to resolve the situation.

“Some say things about use of force (by Egypt). It should be underlined that no force could stop Ethiopia from building a dam,” the prime minister said, according to the Associated Press. “If there is a need to go to war, we could get millions readied. If some could fire a missile, others could use bombs. But that’s not in the best interest of all of us.”

The dispute revolves around the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Resistance Dam on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile which, when complete, will be the largest dam in Africa. Egyptian authorities believe that the dam will restrict its access to the fresh waters of the river Nile. Negotiations between the African nations over how to resolve the dispute collapsed earlier this month .

Ahmed was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize "for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea” on Oct. 11.

PHOTO: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses members of parliament at the Parliament building, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,  Oct. 22, 2019.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses members of parliament at the Parliament building, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Oct. 22, 2019. Ethiopia's Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister warned that if there's a need to go to war over a dam project disputed with Egypt his country could ready millions of people, but he says only negotiation can resolve the deadlock.
Mulugeta Ayene/AP

The award of the prize earlier this month was also “meant to recognize all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions," the committee said in a statement.

The prime minister also defended the decision of the Nobel Committee to award him the Peace Prize in the Ethiopian parliament, saying that those criticizing the award were “wasting their time.”

“Some individuals are finding it hard to accept about the Nobel Peace Prize,” he said in parliament, according to the AP. “It’s already given to Abiy, and it won’t be taken away from him. That’s it! This is a dead issue! Now our focus should be on how to motivate other youths to win the prize. People who continue to dwell on this are wasting their time.”

In recent decades the Norwegian Nobel Committee has come under scrutiny for a number of controversial awards. In an interview with ABC News regarding last year’s winners, Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad Henrik Urdal, the director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, told ABC News that Nobel Prize winners former U.S. President Barack Obama and Myanmar Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi were two such laureates.

"I think Barack Obama is a case where they jumped too early," he said. "When it comes to Aung San Suu Kyi, she was awarded for something I think is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. But she hasn't lived up to the expectations afterward."

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