Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been hospitalized, Ethiopia’s government confirms, but it denies he is critically ill.
“He is not in a critical state. He is in good condition,” spokesman Bereket Simon told the AFP news agency.
Speculation about his health began when he missed last weekend’s African Union summit in Addis Ababa.
There were reports that Meles Zenawi was in hospital in Belgium, suffering from a stomach complaint.
Diplomatic sources in Brussels told AFP that the Ethiopian leader was in a hospital in the Belgian capital.
“He is in a critical state, his life is in danger,” the agency was told by a diplomat who asked not to be named.
An Ethiopian government press conference about the rumors scheduled for Wednesday morning has been postponed until later this week.
Correspondents say it is believed Meles Zenawi’s last public appearance was at the G20 talks in Mexico last month.
Meles Zenawi took power as the leader of a rebel movement which ousted the communist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991.
He has won several elections since then, but his political opponents have accused him of using repression to retain power.