The Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was a friend and ally to many in Washington. He died on Monday of complications following a long illness at the age of 57. His death, though not unexpected, is likely to cause concern because of the country's strategic importance.
Zenawi seized power in 1991 and was praised by many for his success in revitalizing Ethiopia's economy. Yet at the same time, Zenawi was criticized for his human rights record and his failure to allow a full democracy to flourish in Ethiopia. During elections held two years ago, a bullish President Zenawi rejected allegations that voters had been intimidated.
David Shinn was the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia from 1996-1999.