An Ethiopian official says the country's leader, who has not been seen in public for more than a month, is recovering from an illness and will be back at work by September.
His comments on Friday follow a report in the British newspaper The Financial Times on Thursday that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been in frequent contact with South Africa's former president to discuss African Union negotiations with Sudan and South Sudan.
Ethiopian government officials have said Meles is on sick leave, but deny previous reports he was being treated in Europe.
Speaking to a radio station in Australia that serves Ethiopian immigrants, Information Minister Bereket Simon said Meles' health is improving and he will be back at work before the Ethiopian new year on September 11.
However the Information Minister had no comment when asked what illness Mr. Meles was suffering from.
Meles' absence from public view and occasional rumors he has died have raised concerns over a possible successor for him. The prime minister has ruled Ethiopia since a 1991 coup.