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Ethiopia's Meles Ill, Misses AU Meetings

  • VOA News

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, left, with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Nairobi, March 1, 2012.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, left, with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Nairobi, March 1, 2012.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi did not attend scheduled meetings with other African leaders in Addis Ababa on Saturday and Sunday, fueling speculation about his health.

The government confirmed the prime minister was ill but gave no details.

Meles had been scheduled to chair a meeting of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, or NEPAD, on Saturday, and an African Union government leaders’ summit on Sunday. Ethiopia's foreign minister attended in his place.

The foreign minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, told Bloomberg news Monday that Meles was receiving treatment.

“There is no serious illness at all. It's minor only," the agency quoted him as saying. "He said the prime minister would be "back soon" after receiving medication.

Meles, 57, who has ruled Ethiopia since 1991, as not been seen in public for at least two weeks.

Ethiopian state television on Sunday acknowledged the prime minister’s absence from meetings. State TV noted what it called “various media reports” saying the prime minister has been sick - including opposition reports that said Meles was receiving treatment in Belgium.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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