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Puzzlement in Ethiopia as Trump claims hand in Nobel prize

Puzzlement in Ethiopia as Trump claims hand in Nobel prize

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

The comments during a rally in the US on Thursday don’t mention the East African country by name, but Trump says: I made a deal, I saved a country, and 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. Abiy’s office did not comment on Friday.

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

Many Ethiopians were puzzled by 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. Ethiopia says its 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 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.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2020

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