The AU Commission on Friday held a special session of its Permanent Representative in honour of the late Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi , who died on Aug. 20.
Speaking at the occassion, Dr Jean Ping, the outgoing Chairperson of the AU, said the event was organised to recognise ``a great patriot, an advocate of Pan-Africanism and the African renaissance.
``During his lifetime, Zenawi was constantly active on all fronts, whether it was a question of building Ethiopia of today, or preparing the country for its entry into the globalised world’’, he said.
Ping described Zenawi as ``the emblematic figure of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian locomotive, the man who elevated Ethiopia from its status as one of the least developed countries in the world, to the rank of 15 countries with the most rapid economic growth in the world.
``His foresight and desire to bring to fruition his vision of a prosperous Ethiopia that was integrated into the globalised world, guided him and firmly anchored him on the path that he had chosen for the development of his country and the wellbeing of the people of Ethiopia despite all the difficulties’’, Ping said.
He said under Zenawi’s dynamic leadership, security, and stability were re-established in Ethiopia, which clearly formed the basis of its rapid and visible transformation.
He said at each of the international meetings, Zenawi strongly defended the interest of Africa .
``He left his imprints everywhere and also made a strong impression. The demise of Zenawi has silenced forever one of the most respected African voices of this decade. The inspired and committed voice of a convinced Pan-Africanist’’, Ping said.
Ping, who prayed for the repose of Zenawi’s soul, said Africa was conscious of the immense and cruel loss and reiterated Africa’s solidarity with the ``bereaved people of Ethiopia whose pain Africans understand and share''.
In his address Mr Abadula Gemede, Speaker of the National parliament of Ethiopia, pledged that the country’s five-year Growth and Transformation Project (GTP), started by Zenawi, would continue to be implemented.
He also promised to conclude the transition programme following the death of Zenawi as provided in the country’s constitution.
Gemede said during his time, Zenawi ensured democratic governance, established democratic institutions and developed Ethiopia’s political, economic and social systems.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Correspondent reports that Zenawi would be given a state burial on Sunday in Addis Ababa. (NAN)