ROME, Italy, August 22, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ ? Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi sent the following message today to his Ethiopian colleague Hailemariam Desalegn:

?I was deeply saddened by the news of the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, head of the Ethiopian government and a great friend to Italy. I wish to extend my sympathies to the Ethiopian government and people on this sombre occasion and would be grateful if you would also convey them to the family of the deceased.

In the course of his long mandate, Prime Minister Meles led Ethiopia out of a difficult period, personally shouldering the task of fostering economic progress and institution-building. Thanks to his undeniable and widely recognised leadership, Ethiopia has become a point of reference for Africa and is today acknowledged as one of the continent?s most important political actors thanks to its steady economic growth, earnest commitment to resolving regional crises and broad international recognition. Over recent years the international community has witnessed Ethiopia?s essential contribution to resolving the crises in Somalia and Sudan, an effort that earned Italy?s solid support.

The excellent status of bilateral relations between Italy and Ethiopia is also the fruit of Prime Minister Meles? farsighted and pragmatic approach to strengthening what are ancient and intense bonds, with the aim of reaping the related mutual benefits. I had the opportunity to personally benefit from this constructive approach in the course of our very warm and productive meeting on May 3rd of this year during my visit to Addis Ababa.

Now that the responsibility for guiding the country has been placed in your hands, I wish to confirm Italy?s dedication to pursuing the path already mapped out, and to renew my own personal commitment and friendship with a view to strengthening cooperation at both regional and international levels.

Italy, at this moment of condolences and reflection, is closer than ever to Ethiopia in a spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation?.

SOURCE 

Italy ? Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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