Ethiopia assures Kenya of continued cooperation despite PM’s death

Ethiopia on Friday assured Kenya of continued co-operation in trade and security after the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who was the country’s key regional ally.

Ethiopia’s ambassador in Nairobi, Shemsudin Ahmed Roble said agreements reached between the two countries will not collapse due to Zenawi’s death as they were not based on personalities.

“We do not expect any problem in implementing the agreements reached between the two countries at all after the death of Prime Minister Zenawi,” Roble told a media briefing at the Nairobi embassy, before flying to Ethiopia ahead of the strongman’s burial slated for Sunday.

“There is no cause for alarm. The policies of the ruling party and the government led by the late prime minister will continue under the new leadership,” he said.

Roble described the late Zenawi as an African leader who dedicated his life for the sake of the region’s stability and “probably the only leader of a country who had no property like a house and vehicle of his own.”

“He will also be remembered as a leader who had given everything and sacrificed himself for the well-being of his people.”

The ambassador also ruled out a power vacuum in Ethiopia due to the strongman’s death, saying acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will formally take over once endorsed by Parliament after Zenawi’s burial.

“Acting Prime Minister Desalegn is the successor,” he said, adding that “Parliament will convene after the burial (of Zenawi) to endorse him to be the next Prime Minister of Ethiopia.”

Zenawi who died last week at a Brussels hospital will be buried on Sunday, in a ceremony expected to be attended by at least 20 leaders.

Prior to his death, Zenawi who died at 57, had not been seen in public since the G20 summit in Mexico in June.

His last visited Kenya in March for the launch of the multi-billion dollar road and pipeline project from Lamu to Ethiopia and South Sudan, LAPSET. Author: BERNARD MOMANYI

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