Messages of condolences and solidarity – from Africa

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President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti said he was deeply sorrowed to learn the death of “Djibouti’s great brother”. “In this difficult time, the Government and People of Djibouti express their solidarity to the people of Ethiopia. Meles’ determination to bring his country among the top economic powers in the continent has started yielding fruit. As a role model for courage and conviction, Meles will be remembered for his brave fight against terrorism and violence in the region. Africa has lost one of its best men.”

Uganda’s President, Yoweri Musevini, said the death of Prime Minister Meles was not only a tragic loss to the people of Ethiopia but to the entire continent of Africa. “The late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will always be remembered for his historic struggle for the unity of the great people of Ethiopia and his contribution towards the economic transformation of his country. As for Africa, we have been robbed of a great Pan- Africanist and a reliable partner in the struggle to bring peace and stability as well as the economic emancipation of the continent.”

Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki, said: "On behalf of the Government and the People of Kenya, I convey our deepest sympathies to the family of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the Government and People of Ethiopia following this devastating loss," adding that “the late Prime Minister is a pragmatic and visionary leader who helped stabilize his country and placed it on the economic growth path."

South Sudanese Information Minister, Barnaba Benjamin, said "it's a very, very sad day for the people of the Republic of South Sudan and the people of the East African region as a whole... We in South Sudan in particular, consider Ethiopia and especially Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a strategic ally that always never let a friend down. Indeed we greatly mourn him and we extend our extensive condolences to the people of Ethiopia." South Sudan has declared three days of national mourning for Prime Minister Meles.

President Zuma of South Africa described Meles' death as "an absolute tragedy for Africa and the people of Ethiopia to mourn such an exceptional leader who contributed as an active role-player in various continental and global initiatives". He had been a strong leader, not only for his country but on the African continent, acting as mediator on numerous talks, particularly in the Horn of Africa region.

President Jonathan of Nigeria described Meles’ death as a major loss for Africa. “He was a great African statesman, who was also a friend of Nigeria, a nation-builder and a great servant of the Ethiopian people,” he said, adding that “he held strong convictions about establishing a just and prosperous society for his people, a cause to which he devoted his considerable energies, and which deservedly earned him respect and honor among a grateful Ethiopian nation.” President Jonathan acknowledged Prime Minister Meles’s vision for a united and strong Africa, and said “The passing of Prime Minister Zenawi at this time when Ethiopia and, indeed, all of Africa, stood to benefit from his wisdom and experience in building a stable and prosperous continent is a great loss that will be hard to remedy,” he said. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo noted that the death of Meles Zenawi had robbed Africa of a “committed, forthright, visionary and fearless leader….I have seen his performance at the African Union and it is because of his brilliance that leaders of Africa and I decided to hand over the AU NEPAD program to him."

Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, said Meles was an economic transformer and a strong intellectual leader for the continent. She added "in our regional meetings he stood out because of his intellect and his ability to respond and to lead dialogue on matters relating to African development. He will be missed in all of our meetings and all of our endeavors".

The African Union Commission in a statement expressed its heartfelt condolences on "the untimely passing away of Ato Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia" adding that "The Commission will remember the 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 the global fora.” The Commission also salutes Ethiopia’s contribution, under Prime Minister Meles’s 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). Ity added: “In this respect, mention should be made of 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." The Commission said " Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has also overseen the dramatic transformation of his country, which is today one of the top economic performers on the continent."  Expressing its deepest condolences the Commission said "the death of Meles has robbed Africa of one of its greatest sons".

The Executive Secretary of the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Engineer Mahboub Maalim, in a letter of condolence said that he and members of IGAD have learnt with great sorrow and shock the untimely passing away of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. “It is a great loss not only for Africa but to IGAD and the continent. During his five years chairmanship, the IGAD region greatly benefited from his wise leadership and his valuable contribution to the development of IGAD as a regional institution. Under his leadership IGAD shone in the international arena due to his successful management of the volatile situation affecting the region. He tirelessly worked for peace in Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Liberia. IGAD’s fraternity will sorely miss the great man with a focused vision and brilliant leadership. His vision of regional economic integration and infrastructural development including the Great Renaissance Dam were inspirational to all of us.” (MoFA)