VIENNA, Austria, August 22, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Spindelegger expressed his deep sorrow on the news of the death of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Monday night. For more than 20 years, Meles had shaped the political fate of Ethiopia like no other politician.
"In this moment of grief for the Ethiopian people, my thoughts go to the family of the deceased and to the people of the country“, said the Austrian Foreign Minister, who had visited Ethiopia in 2009.
Spindelegger praised the efforts of Prime Minister Meles to reach an understanding between Sudan and South Sudan, and emphasized Ethiopia's potential for a peaceful development on the Horn of Africa. “The people in the region are hoping for a life in peace and freedom“, stressed the Vice Chancellor. “The stabilization of the situation on the Horn of Africa, development policy, and respect for human rights are the regular topics of priority in our talks with the Ethiopian leadership.”
Spindelegger underscored the traditional interest of Austria in Ethiopia: “The country is one of the priority targets of the Austrian development cooperation. We want to improve the situation of the people in the country, to give them a perspective for the future. In our efforts, improving the protection of human rights in Ethiopia plays an essential role. We aim to achieve this by strengthening the structures of the rule of law. As a rule, we therefore dedicate particular attention to this issue as part of our development policy” emphasized the Vice Chancellor. He also reminded of the decade-long commitment of the Austrian people in helping those suffering in Ethiopia through the „Menschen für Menschen” campaign founded by Karlheinz Böhm.