News Release

Friday July 19th 2002

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Awarded Top Peace Prize

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been awarded the World Peace Prize by the World Peace Prize Awarding Council (WPPAC) at a ceremony held on 16th July. Meles also received an honorary doctoral degree in political science from Hannam University

The Prime Minister was awarded the prize in recognition of his accomplishments in the African continent and the country of Ethiopia, by settling the border dispute with Eritrea and for actively promoting the process of national reconciliation in Somalia, the conflict in the Sudan and in the Great Lakes area within the mandate of the OAU and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Meles said the decision of the awarding council is recognition of Ethiopia’s unique and rich history of inter-faith tolerance and inter-communal harmony. He said that while the people of Ethiopia have been dragged into unwanted inter-state conflicts by those both near and far, at no time in its entire history has Ethiopia been the cause of war and inter-state conflict.

WPPAC judges, who are drawn from each continent, also honoured Meles with the position of roving Ambassador for peace as well as enlisting him as a member of the World Peace Congress.

" We Ethiopians are proud of this tradition which we are committed to protecting. This is also the explanation behind the survival of the nation despite the many challenges to its independent existence," the Prime Minister said, adding "The award, I believe, is meant to be encouragement for us to continue discharging our responsibilities as a country and as a people for durable peace in our sub-region and for harmony among the peoples of our region and of our continent as a whole.”

" No one with any sense of objectivity can point to any incident in the modern history of Ethiopia when it has violated principles of international law governing inter-state relations," Meles said.

"I am proud to state with a clear conscience on behalf of our government that we have never let our people down and we have tried as much as humanly possible not to lose any opportunity for peace," he said.

Former winners of the prize include former US President Ronald Reagan, Hosni Mubarek, Yitzhak Rabin for moderating the Israel-PLO relations and Annette Lu of Taiwan.