US Honors Ethiopia’s PM Meles as ‘Brilliant Leader’

As Ethiopians pay their final respects to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the United States of America today honored the late Prime minister by describing him as ‘brilliant’ leader.

In her remarks at the funeral of Ethiopi’as leader in Addis Ababa, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice extended her deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy for the untimely passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on behalf of President Obama and the American people.

“Our prayers are with the people of Ethiopia and, most especially, with Prime Minister Meles’s beloved wife, Azeb, and their cherished children, Semhal, Senay, and Marda.” -Ms. Rice

Zenawi with President of Russia Vladimir Putin on 3 December 2001.

Ms. Rice says Meles was a friend both to her and to the United States.

“Meles was a proud father and a devoted husband. As he laughed about his children’s exploits and bragged about their achievements, a face sometimes creased by worry, would glow with simple joy.” -Ms. Rice

Meles was disarmingly regular, unpretentious, and direct, Ms. Rice said.

He was selfless, tireless and totally dedicated to his work and family, Ms. Rice added.

In the toughest of times, he retained that twinkle in his eye, his ready smile, his roiling laugh and his wicked sense of humor, she noted.

Ms. Rice cites the Prime Minister Meles’ many admirable qualities which she said the late PM has a world-class mind.

A life-long student, he taught himself and many others so much, Ms. Rice cited.

“PM Meles wasn’t just brilliant. He wasn’t just a relentless negotiator and a formidable debater. He wasn’t just a thirsty consumer of knowledge.” -Ms. Rice

He was uncommonly wise able to see the big picture and the long game, even when others would allow immediate pressures to overwhelm sound judgment, she highlighted.

“Those rare traits were the foundation of his greatest contributions.” -Ms. Rice

According to Ms. Rice, she was always struck by two things about the former leader: Meles was consistently reasoned in his judgments and thoughtful in his decisions; and, he was driven not by ideology but by his vision of a better future for this land he loved.

She says she will deeply miss the challenge and the insights she gained from their discussions and debates.

Prime Minister Meles was remarkably ambitious but not, as is typical, for himself, Ms. Rice noted.

“He was both a son of Ethiopia and a father to its rebirth. Passionately proud to be Ethiopian, Meles was determined that you, its people, conquer your history of poverty, hunger, and strife.” -Ms. Rice

She says PM Meles was profoundly shaped by the memory of fragile young lives snuffed out in the 1980s by folly-induced famine and despair.

The torment of that terrible time spurred him to join in driving out the strongman who had turned Ethiopia into a parched field of sorrow, Ms. Rice said.

“It spurred him to remake himself overnight from guerrilla to statesman.” -Ms. Rice

His experience spurred him to make sustainable development both a personal passion and a national priority, Ms. Rice noted.

In addition, Ms. Rice highlighted that Meles’s vision and impact never stopped at Ethiopia’s borders.

Across Africa, Ms. Rice says fellow leaders looked to Prime Minister Meles to help them make peace and jumpstart their economies.

PM was instrumental in building the African Union. He made IGAD deliver, Ms. Rice said.

PM confronted terrorism directly and countered violent extremists bent on undermining the state and the region he did so much to build.

Ms. Rice adds PM Meles worked vigorously to end bitter conflicts from Burundi to Liberia.

She cites that PM Meles was crucial to the negotiation and implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended Sudan’s tragic civil war.

“Prime Minister Meles was midwife to the birth of the world’s newest state, the Republic of South Sudan, and he sought to nurse this fragile progeny to strength.” -Ms. Rice

Ms. Rice testifies also how much Ethiopia, under Prime Minister Meles’s leadership, has given to the United Nations and its lifesaving efforts from preventing and resolving conflict to striving to meet the Millennium Development Goals, from combating climate change to serving in UN peacekeeping operations, most recently in Abyei.

“On this mournful day, let me thank, in particular, President Girma, Acting Prime Minister Hailemariam, and other government leaders for their dignified and constitutional response to this sudden tragedy.” -Ms. Rice

She says that while Meles’s loss is profound, Ethiopia’s greatness is undiminished.

However, US admiration for Ethiopia’s accomplishments is enduring.

At the state funeral, Ms. Rice says the United States re-commits to strengthening and deepening our partnership with Ethiopia.

“As such, we will support Ethiopians as you strengthen your institutions of state and build your democracy, even as you continue to develop your economy and contribute generously to peace and security across the continent.” -Ms. Rice

The legacy Meles leaves will long endure, she added.

She notes that Prime Minister Meles was an uncommon leader, a rare visionary, and a true friend to me and many.

“We all, my friend, will miss you mightily. May you rest well and true to your memory, may your beloved Ethiopia know a future of prosperity, hope, and peace.” -Ms. Rice

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has died at the age of 57 on August 20 this year after suffering from an undisclosed illness in a hospital in Brussel, Belgium.

Reports say PM Zenawi was not seen in public for about two months. Last month, PM Zenawi reportedly missed to attend a meeting of AU heads of state in the capital, Addis Ababa.

The passing of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi gained worldwide coverage as he was considered as one of the powerful leader on transforming Ethiopia into one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies during his 21-year reign. He was one of Africa’s strongmen.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed sadness to learn of the passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

“I admired the Prime Minister’s personal commitment to transforming Ethiopia’s economy and to expanding education and health services.” -Ms. Clinton

US considers PM Zenawi as an important and influential voice in Africa, and the United States especially valued his role in promoting peace and security in the region.

PM Zenawi had been active in the Ethiopian politics since 1991. when he served as President. He became Prime Minister in 1995.

Ethiopia is among the countries that are on track to meet the goal of eradication poverty. PM Zenawi has played an important part in this work as recognized by other African states.

Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.