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Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi has passed away

meles zenawi 2
August 21, 2012

Speculation that Meles, 57, was seriously ill grew 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.

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