Zuma sends condolences to Ethiopia

2012-08-21 11:42
Meles Zenawi (File, AFP)

Meles Zenawi (File, AFP)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday mourned the death of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, praising him as a strong leader who helped mediate conflicts in the Horn of Africa.

"South Africa has always seen Ethiopia as an anchor state and a leading country in the Horn of Africa region. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had been a strong leader, not only for his country but on the African continent, acting as mediator on numerous talks, particularly in the Horn of Africa region," Zuma's office said in a statement.

"South Africa remains confident that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hailemariam Desalegn, who will act as prime minister in the interim, as per the Ethiopian constitution, will continue to maintain stability and peace in the region, in keeping with the legacy of Prime Minister Meles," it added.

Meles, 57, a former rebel fighter who came to power in 1991 after toppling the bloody dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam, died in hospital abroad, the government said on Tuesday.

He had not been seen in public for two months, and had been reported to have been sick in a hospital in Brussels.

"It is an absolute tragedy for Africa and the people of Ethiopia to mourn such an exceptional leader who contributed as an active role-player in various continental and global initiatives, especially in playing host to the African Union," Zuma said in the statement.

"Our hearts and prayers are with the family of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, as well as the government and the people of Ethiopia during this difficult time."

Read more on:    meles zenawi  |  jacob zuma  |  ethiopia  |  east africa
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