2 Sep 2012

African leaders gather for state funeral in Ethiopia

1:32 pm on 2 September 2012

African leaders are gathered in Addis Ababa for the state funeral on Sunday of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, who died last month.

His body lies in state in the National Palace.

Mr Meles, 57, died in Brussels on 20 August, following a long illness. He had not been seen in public for weeks.

Mr Meles came to power in 1991 and was credited for bringing development and growth to Ethiopia.

Under his leadership, the country gradually opened to the outside world.

He ordered Ethiopian troops to intervene against al-Qaeda forces in Somalia, mediated in the conflict in Sudan and South Sudan, and took a leading position in the African Union.

His deputy, Hailemariam Desalegn, 47, will formally take over as prime minister after the funeral and will serve until elections are held in 2015.