19 August 2013

Sudan: Bashir Arrives in Ethiopia for Zenawi Memorial

Photo: The Daily Nation
Former Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi (file photo).

Addis Ababa — Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday to attend the first memorial service of the late Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi.

The late Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, pictured with his wife at an African Union summit held in Accra in July 2007 (AFP)

Sudan's foreign minister, Ali Karti, will also attend as part of the Bashir-led Sudanese delegation.

The Sudanese president is also expected to hold talks with Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the current situation between Sudan and South Sudan.

It's understood Bashir will brief Desalegn on recent developments and existing setbacks that are delaying the implementation of previous agreements that aim to end long-running disputes between the former civil war rivals.

The widow of the late premier and board chairperson of the Meles Zenawi Foundation (MZF), Azeb Mesfin, said that the occasion will be marked across the nation on Tuesday, with various events planned to commemorate the legacy of the former Ethiopian leader.

Other African leaders and high-level delegations from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Kenya, South Africa, South Sudan and Djibouti are also expected to arrive on Tuesday to attend the event.

At the memorial service, African leaders will pay tribute to the late prime minister for his outstanding efforts at both national and continental level to maintain regional peace and security, as well as his lead role in environmental protection and climate change negotiations.

Ethiopians across the nation have planted millions of trees in honour of the former leader.

Zenawi, who is still regarded as one of Ethiopia's greatest leaders, died on 20 August 2012 after leading the country for over two decades.

During his leadership he was the continent's voice and spokesman in various international arenas.

Leaders have praised his efforts in facilitating peace negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as his efforts to bring peace and security to Somalia and the region at large.

Under the policies and strategies he designed, millions of Ethiopians - mostly in rural parts of the country - were lifted out of poverty.

However, international rights groups remain critical, accusing him of doing little to improve democracy in the country.

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