ADDIS ABABA, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- The 54-member Pan-African Institution, the African Union (AU), on Saturday paid tribute to the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi by organizing a memorial service at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.
The ceremony held with motto, "Africa Recognizing a Great Patriot and an Advocate of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance," brought together officials and staff of the AU Commission, members of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), representatives of diplomatic corps, the UN agencies, and international communities based in Addis Ababa.
The flag of the AU and those of the Union's member states are flying half-mast on the premises of the AU Headquarters mourning the late Prime Minister.
Speaking at the memorial service, Jean Ping, the outgoing Chairperson of the AU Commission, hailed Meles as an inspired and committed voice of Africa and convinced Pan-Africanist.
The demise of Prime Minister Meles has silenced forever one of the most respected African voices of this decade, said Ping.
He stated that the late Prime Minister was a leader who fulfilled his commitments by cherishing the dream of extricating his country from poverty and ensuring its food security.
Meles was the emblematic figure of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian locomotive, the man who elevated Ethiopia from its status as one of the least developed countries in the world, to be one of the most rapid growths in our modern world, the chairperson said.
Under the dynamic leadership of the late Prime Minister, security and stability were re-established in the country, which clearly formed the basis of its rapid and visible transformation, said the chairperson.
"We cannot but be gratified by the promising results recorded in the country for some time now, and are convinced that the government and the people of Ethiopia will continue the work that the late Prime Minister Meles was able to put on track," he added.
Reiterating Meles was brilliant and active leader, Ferdinand Montchho, Chairperson of the AU Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), appreciated the energy and vision of the late Prime Minister to build prosperous Africa.
He stated the late Prime Minister played a great role in peace and security in the Horn of Africa. The chairperson said Meles was a leader who had great contribution to the African Union (AU).
Tadelle Demeke, President of AU Staff Association, said the passing away of Prime Minister Meles is a great loss and tragedy for Ethiopians and Africans.
He stated that Meles was selfless, visionary, and intellectual African leader. "We learnt it with a great shock and sadness about the death of H.E. PM Meles Zenawi. The untimely passing away of Prime Minister Meles has triggered shock waves and unleashed a severe blow to the people of Ethiopia in particular and those of Africa in general," said the president.
In his remarks, Abadulla Gemeda, Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament, said the late Prime Minister made great contribution to sustainable development of Ethiopia, and to the renaissance of Africa.
"This is the time of profound sorrow as we mourn the passing away of H.E. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a great statesman who has not only worked for the political, economic, social transformation of our country, but also exerted effort for the realization of Africa's renaissance," said Abadulla.
The late prime minister dedicated his entire life to the fundamental objective of ensuring democratic governance in the country and extricating the Ethiopian people from poverty, said Abadulla.
He also noted it is during the leadership of the late Prime Minister that a new democratic order has been in Ethiopia where nations, nationalities, peoples of Ethiopia enjoy their rights and equality.
"It is also under his wise and able leadership of the late PM Meles that the Ethiopian government has been able to design and implement appropriate policies and strategies to lead the country on the path of sustained economic growth and development which lifted millions of people out of poverty. As a result Ethiopia has become one of the fastest growing countries in Africa and indeed in the whole world," said the Speaker.
"The late Prime Minister was also the personal architect of the country's Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) which is being currently implemented among others that aims to double the country's agricultural production and its gross domestic product in five years," he said.