During a regular press briefing on Tuesday(August 21), spokesman of the Commission, Olivier Bailly, told journalists that:
"[Meles Zenawi] passed away during the night here in Brussels".
The EU official made the statement more than three hours after the Ethiopian government broke the news to the Ethiopian public and the world.
On Tuesday, at dawn, a statement by the Council of Ministers stated that:
The Council of Ministers of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, with deep sorrow and grief, regrets to inform the Peoples of Ethiopia that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who has led our country for the last 21 years with great wisdom and far-sightedness, passed away on August 20th at 11:40 pm at the hospital where he was under medical treatment.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had been undergoing medical treatment for the last two months. He had lately been showing remarkable improvement, but unfortunately had to be admitted back to hospital two days ago when his condition worsened due to a sudden infection. All attempts by his physicians to treat this was unsuccessful, and he died at 11:40 p.m. on August 20th.
Neither the EU official or the Council of Ministers indicated in which hospital the Premier was treated, was being treated. However, about two week ago, Minister Bereket Simon implicitly indicated, in an interview with a radio, that the PM was treated at Saint Luc University Hospital in Brussels, Belgium.
Opposition media and parties in the Ethiopian diaspora continue to insist that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died in mid-July and, according to some of them, his body was flown home days later. However, this was contradicted by several international news outlets, including the AFP, Financial Times, BBC, Le monde, the Telegraph, etc.
Meles Zenawi’s eventual death could have given those opposition media, at best, a sort of prophetic credential, if only they were not making similar claims routinely at least since 2006.
It is to be noted that it took only a few hours for the government to confirm that Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne has become Acting Prime Minister, as per the Constitution.
Check the Meles Zenawi archive for previous and forthcoming posts.