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An Influential Voice Lost In Africa

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (file)
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (file)

The United States joins with the Ethiopian people in mourning the loss of Meles Zenawi.

The death of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on August 20 has come as a shock to many. Meles’ was an important and influential voice, not only in his country, but in Africa as a whole. The United States joins with the Ethiopian people, and especially members of the prime minister’s family, in mourning his loss and honoring his life’s work.

Meles worked tirelessly to bring peace and stability in Ethiopia and to promote Africa’s place on the world stage. Taking power from a military junta in 1991, he focused on his country’s security and economic development, leading a war-torn and poverty stricken nation to become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. He also deserves recognition for his lifelong contribution to Ethiopia’s development and his commitment to its poor.

We are confident Ethiopia will peacefully navigate this transition in accordance with the provisions outlined in the country’s constitution. Parliament is organizing now and is expected to approve Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as the country’s new prime minister.

As Ethiopia moves forward, the United States reconfirms our long partnership. We congratulate its leaders and encourage them to enhance their support for economic development, democracy and human rights, and regional security.