|Ethiopia PM Meles in 'critical' state in Brussels||
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was in a Brussels hospital in a "critical" state Wednesday, several diplomatic sources told AFP, but the Ethiopian government denied he was unwell.
"He is in a critical state, his life is in danger," said a diplomat who asked not to be named.
In Addis Ababa, however, government spokesman Bereket Simon denied reports that the 57-year-old premier was ill. "He is not in a critical state. He is in good condition," the spokesman told AFP.
Diplomats in Brussels said he had been undergoing regular treatment on a private basis at one of the city's major hospitals and had been in hospital for some days.
Meles didn’t attend the African Union (AU) summit, which closed late on Monday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
At the opening of the summit on Saturday, Benin's president and current AU chairman Thomas Boni Yayi said that the "unusual absence… cannot go unnoticed, because we know that Mr. Meles is full of dynamism and leadership in our meetings.”
The Ethiopian prime minister was also scheduled to chair a meeting of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development on July 14, but was absent due to “health reasons.”
A Texas-based opposition group, the Ethiopian National Transitional Council, claimed in an e-mailed statement on Sunday that Meles may have died in a Belgian hospital.
However, the Ethiopian Embassy in Brussels quickly denied reports that he was hospitalized there or that he was seriously ill.
Meanwhile, Meles’ wife declined to talk to journalists about her husband’s health.
The 57-year-old leader, who is the head of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, has been the ruler of the African nation since 1991.
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