Ethiopia PM Meles is Alive, Says Top Cabinet Official

By IndepthAfrica
In East Africa
Aug 2nd, 2012
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Meles Zenawi (President of Ethiopia) at the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, May 6, 2010.

A top Ethiopian official says the health of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is “much improved” in recent days, following treatment for an unspecified illness.

Meles has not been seen in public for more than a month, and opposition websites this week reported the Ethiopian leader is dead.

In an interview with Ethiopian television late Wednesday, Information Minister Bereket Simon dismissed those rumors as false and said Meles’ health is in “good condition.”

He did not reveal the prime minister’s illness, or where he is being treated, but said Meles has improved since the last time officials briefed reporters, about 12 days ago.

Media reports last month said Meles was critically ill at Saint Luc Hospital in Brussels, Belgium.

On Monday, Amsterdam-based Ethiopian Satellite Television said the the prime minister was dead, saying it based the report on information from a Brussels-based think tank, the International Crisis Group.

However, the International Crisis Group released a statement saying it has “no direct knowledge” of Meles condition and is not in a position to speculate about it.

Meles Zenawi is 57 years old and has ruled Ethiopia since taking power in a 1991 coup.

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