Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fears for Ethiopia’s stability follow death of longtime ruler - Washington Times

(Aug 21, 2012, Washington Times)--Ethiopia’s long-ruling prime minister, Meles Zenawi, a strong U.S. ally in the war on terrorism in the Horn of Africa, died this week of an undisclosed illness after having not been seen in public for nearly two months, Ethiopian authorities said Tuesday.

His death raised questions about whether the government will remain as committed in the fight against al Shabab terrorists in neighboring Somalia. U.S. military drones that patrol the region are based in Ethiopia. Mr. Meles, whose rebel movement toppled communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, died in Belgium on Monday. He was 57.

He attended a Group of 20 summit in Mexico in June but failed to attend a meeting of African Union leaders held in July in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Ethiopian officials continued to insist that he was in “very good” health and would soon return to his duties.

Mr. Meles was credited with bringing economic growth to his impoverished nation, but also criticized for widespread human rights abuses. In Washington, President Obama expressed reactions shared by many Western leaders.

He said he had “personal admiration for his desire to lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty through his drive for food security.” However, Mr. Obama, added, “Going forward, we encourage the government of Ethiopia to enhances its support for development, democracy, regional stability and security, human rights and prosperity for its people.” Read more the original article from  Washington Times »

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