AU mourns Ethiopian PM, Meles Zenawi.
The African Union (AU), says it has received with great shock and sadness the passing away of Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
In a statement released in Addis Ababa, the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Jean Ping, said the Union would remember late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for his exceptional contribution to the advancement of the objectives of the AU and the promotion of Africa’s interests in global fora.
It said Prime Minister Meles played a critical role in furthering the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), whose Implementation Committee he was chairing as well as the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change.
The Commission also saluted Ethiopia’s contribution, under Prime Minister Meles’ leadership, to the promotion of peace and security in Africa, both within the framework of the AU and the Inter‐Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The AU noted the deployment of Ethiopian peacekeepers to Burundi, Liberia and Abyei, as part of AU or United Nations Missions, as well as the support extended to the Somali authorities and AMISOM in their efforts to defeat terrorism and extremism in Somalia and pave the way for lasting peace and reconciliation in that country.
Prime Minister Meles was praised for deploying efforts in support of the AU High‐Level Implementation Panel to facilitate the completion of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and negotiations on the post‐secession issues between Sudan and South Sudan.
It said the death of Prime Minister Meles had robbed Africa of one of its greatest sons.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died from a sudden infection while recovering from an undisclosed illness at a hospital in Brussels, the African nation's state-run television said on Tuesday.
Fifty seven year old Zenawi, was said to be seriously ill after he failed to attend an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa last month.
"Prime Minister Zenawi suddenly passed away last night. Meles was recovering in a hospital overseas for the past two months but died of a sudden infection at 11:40," state television said.
State media said Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn would be the acting prime minister.
Ethiopia's government said last month that Meles was taking a break to recover from an unspecified condition. Diplomats in Addis Ababa had said Meles was being treated in Brussels from an undisclosed illness, while others said he was in Germany.
Meles has been in power since ousting Mengistu Haile Mariam's military junta in 1991. He served as president from 1991 to 1995, when he became prime minister.
He won praise in the West for helping spur economic growth and for his army's support against al Qaeda-linked militants in neighboring Somalia.