Tuesday, August 21, 2012

World leaders mourn Ethiopia's Meles

(Aug 21, 2012, SBS)--Wolrd leaders have paid tribute to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has died leaving a power gap in the Horn of Africa. US President Barack Obama has led tributes to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi with high praise after the strongman's more than two decades in power and despite his chequered human rights record. His death at age 57 leaves a major power gap in the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia has played a key role in the fortunes of many of its neighbours, as well as host to the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa. Obama said Meles deserved "recognition for his lifelong contribution to Ethiopia's development, particularly his unyielding commitment to Ethiopia's poor."

He recalled his "personal admiration for his desire to lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty through his drive for food security" after meeting him at the G-8 Summit in May. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Meles' would "be remembered for his exceptional leadership and advocacy on African issues within and outside the continent, as well as for overseeing his country's economic growth and development," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

The African Union hailed Meles for his promotion of economic growth, as well as his role as peace-maker between Sudan and South Sudan and his support for the fight against Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents. "The death of Prime Minister Meles has robbed Africa of one of its greatest sons," said AU commission chair Jean Ping's office in a statement. Read more from SBS »

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