Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has expressed his sadness at the death of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, whom he described as a ''strong leader'' who helped mediate conflicts in the Horn of Africa.
"South Africa has always seen Ethiopia as an anchor state and a leading country in the Horn of Africa region. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had been a strong leader, not only for his country but on the African continent, acting as mediator on numerous talks, particularly in the Horn of Africa region," President Zuma's office said in a statement.
"South Africa remains confident that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hailemariam Desalegn, who will act as Prime Minister in the interim, as per the Ethiopian constitution, will continue to maintain stability and peace in the region, in keeping with the legacy of Prime Minister Meles," the presidency added.
Meles has been sick for the last four months and was receiving medical treatment for two months in Europe over an undisclosed illness.
A former rebel fighter, Meles came to power in 1991 after toppling the dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam.
-0- PANA CU/SEG 22Aug2012