WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered his condolences to Ethiopia for the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and hailed his contribution to the East African country.
"It was with sadness that I learned of the passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. "Prime Minister Meles deserves recognition for his lifelong contribution to Ethiopia's development, particularly his unyielding commitment to Ethiopia's poor."
Zenawi, 57, died on Monday night due to a sudden infection when he was recovering in a hospital abroad, Ethiopian state TV reported on Tuesday.
While offering his condolences, Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the partnership with Ethiopia.
"Going forward, we encourage the Government of Ethiopia to enhance its support for development, democracy, regional stability and security, human rights, and prosperity for its people," he said.
Zenawi was the president of Ethiopia's transitional government from 1991 to 1995, when he was elected prime minister and remained at the post ever since.