Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

22 July 2012

Ethiopia: Zenawi Back in Town

A day after the Ethiopian government officially announced his ailment, Prime Minster Meles Zenawi came back to Addis Abeba, according to a credible source. The Premier came back to town on Friday evening, July 20, 2012, and he is recovering well, the source revealed to Fortune, almost a month passed after Meles had last been seen at major public events or in the media.

His absence was confirmed for the first time a day before the opening of the 19th African Union Heads of State & Government Summit, held in Addis Abeba from July 15 to 16, 2012. Later last week, the Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO) officially announced that Meles was in "good condition" and "recuperating fast" from his unspecified illness.

"It will not be too long before he resumes his work," Bereket Simon, head of the GCAO, with a ministerial portfolio, told media on Thursday afternoon. "We expect him to be back in days."

The source shared Bereket's expectations. The Prime Minister is recovering and will be back to his work, full-fledged, soon, the source disclosed.

Shimeles Kemal, state minister for the GCAO, told Fortune that he was not yet informed about the PM's return. His counterpart, Beker Shale confirmed that there was no development in the state of the Prime Minister's health, other than what was announced on Thursday by Bereket.

"It is not necessary to disclose the whereabouts of the Prime Minister at this time," Beker told Fortune over the phone on Saturday afternoon. "If there is any progress on his condition, we will officially disclose it in the future."

Senior officials were not available to confirm his return.

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