August 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior Member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Armed Services Committees, today issued the following statement mourning the loss of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died at the age of 57:

“Today I join the people of Ethiopia in mourning the passing of my friend, Prime Minister Meles. I have known him and First Lady Azeb Mesfin for close to a decade, and so I am especially sad for Azeb and their family during this time of loss.

“Meles and Azeb fought the Derg’s murderous rule from the bush in the 1980s as guerrilla fighters with prices on their heads, and finally overthrew them in 1991. He led his nation through a difficult transition period and then was elected Prime Minister. In the succeeding years he brought peace, stability and prosperity to his people.

“Meles was a great friend to the U.S., especially after the attacks of 9/11 when his government worked closely with our armed forces to prevent the spread of radical Islamic Fundamentalism to the African continent through the Horn of Africa.

“He was a great friend and a great leader. His passing is a huge loss for Africa. I send my heartfelt condolences to Azeb and their children. Kay and I are praying for them during this difficult time.”