2012-08-23 L’Osservatore Romano
Addis Abeba, 22. The body of Meles Zenawi has been taken back to his homeland. The Prime Minister of Ethiopia died yesterday at the age of 57 in a Bussels clinic to which he had been admitted in July. A journalist of France Presse reported that his coffin arrived in the capital on an Ethiopian Airlines plane, and, draped in the national flag, was placed on a vehicle in the presence of a grieving crowd to the sound of music played by a military band. Zenawi had headed Ethiopia since 1991. He was first President of the transitional government that took over after the collapse of the Mengistu regime and then, with his electoral victory in 1995, Prime Minister. The Pope expressed his sentiments of sorrow, sharing in the bereavement which has afflicted Ethiopia, in a Telegram signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, addressed to President Girma Wolde Giorgis of Ethiopia. Before recalling Zenawi's many years as his country's leader, in his Message Benedict XVI expressed his closeness to the deceased politician's family and to the entire population of this African country.