Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi ‘in hospital’ in Brussels; “critical” state

Ethiopia’s government has denied Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is critically ill but says he has been in hospital.

July 18, 2012 (BBC News) – “He is not in a critical state. He is in good condition,” spokesman Bereket Simon told the AFP news agency.

A spokesperson for the Ethiopian embassy in London told the BBC the 57 year old was in a stable condition after hospital treatment.

Speculation about his health began when he missed last weekend’s African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

There were reports that Mr Meles was in hospital in Belgium, suffering from a stomach complaint.

The Ethiopian embassy spokesperson in London said the prime minister had been visited by high-level officials, but did not say where he was being treated.

Diplomatic sources in Brussels told AFP that the Ethiopian leader was in a hospital in the Belgian capital.

“He is in a critical state, his life is in danger,” the agency was told by a diplomat who asked not to be named.

An Ethiopian government press conference about the rumours scheduled for Wednesday morning has been postponed until later this week.

Correspondents say it is believed Mr Meles’s last public appearance was at the G20 talks in Mexico last month.

Mr Meles took power as the leader of a rebel movement which ousted the communist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991.

He has won several elections since then, but his political opponents have accused him of using repression to retain power.

BBC News 

Ethiopian PM in ‘critical’ state in Brussels clinic

Posted by AFP on July 18, 2012

BRUSSELS, Jul 18 – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was in a Brussels hospital in a “critical” state Wednesday, several diplomatic sources told AFP, but the Ethiopian government denied he was unwell.

“He is in a critical state, his life is in danger,” said a diplomat who asked not to be named.

In Addis Ababa, however, government spokesman Bereket Simon denied reports that the 57-year-old premier was ill. “He is not in a critical state. He is in good condition,” the spokesman told AFP.

In Brussels, the Ethiopian embassy refused comment. It had said earlier this week that reports he was being treated at a hospital were “false and wrong”, and were a rumour created by “an interest group which has preoccupied itself in disseminating such untrue stories”.

But several diplomats in Brussels said he had been undergoing regular treatment on a private basis at one of the city’s major hospitals and had been in hospital for some days.

No information was available on his illness.

Questions surfaced about Meles’s health when he missed a two-day African Union summit Sunday and Monday, apparently for the first time.

Meles’s wife, herself a lawmaker, had declined to talk to reporters about her husband, who has been at the helm of the Horn of Africa nation since 1991.

One of last times Meles was seen in public was at the G20 meeting in Mexico on June 19.

Dozens of African heads of state visited Ethiopia for the summit, including newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the first to do so since an assassination attempt in Ethiopia on former president Hosni Mubarak in 1995.

Benin’s president and current AU chairman Thomas Boni Yayi had said at the opening of the summit Saturday that the “unusual absence… cannot go unnoticed, because we know that Mr Meles is full of dynamism and leadership in our meetings”.