Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 for his work toward ending a 20-year conflict with neighbor Eritrea.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday in Oslo that Abiy was being honored for his efforts to "achieve peace and international cooperation."
More than 70,000 people died in a two-year border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea — which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1991 — that was ended by an inconclusive peace deal in 2000.
A military stalemate followed and relations remained hostile until Abiy became prime minister in April 2018, and he worked out the principles of a peace agreement with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, allowing ties between the two countries to finally be reestablished.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee acknowledged that, "even if much work remains" in Ethiopia and Eritrea, Abiy had begun reforms that gave people "hope for a better life and a brighter future."
"The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea," the Committee said.
In a statement, Abiy's office expressed pride at being the recipient of the 2019 Peace Prize, the 100th to be awarded and worth 9 million Swedish kronor, around $908,000.
"Today, as the world takes note and celebrates his achievements through bestowing the Nobel Peace Prize, we invite all Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to continue standing on the side of peace," the statement said.
Since coming into office, Abiy, 43, has freed political prisoners and also championed the role of women in politics, creating a gender-equal cabinet.