Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia died, Monday evening, of an apparent infection in a foreign hospital where he was admitted two months ago, according to Ethiopian state television. There had been concern for his health since his absence from a summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa last month. Zenawi's deputy, Hailemariam Desalegn, has assumed the position in an acting capacity.
Ethiopian-born Member of Knesset Shlomo Molla expressed sorrow at Zenawi's passing, noting what he meant to Ethiopia as a military and civilian leader. He added "Zenawi cultivated [Ethiopia's] special ties with Israel and saw the connections with Ethiopian Jews as mediating between the two countries. Ethiopia is a strategic country for Israel and there is no doubt that Israel has lost a close friend."