- Officials in Zambia and France have denied world media reports that President Levy Mwanawasa had died following a stroke he suffered while attending the Africa Union summit in Egypt earlier this week.
Zambian Vice-President Rupiah Banda (71) this afternoon denied earlier media reports that the President had died, saying the leader was in a stable condition at the Percy Military hospital in Paris.
"The President had (a) satisfactory night at the Percy military hospital in France. The news reports ... are not true," Zambian Vice-President Banda said in a statement quoted by the Reuters news agency.
A statement from France's Foreign Ministry also said the President was still recovering at the Paris military hospital. Not wanting to comment on the health situation of the Zambian leader, the Ministry's spokesman said he could "confirm that President Levy Mwanawasa is being treated at the Percy military hospital. It is the responsibility of Zambian authorities to communicate on his state of health."
Earlier on Thursday, South Africa's 'Talk Radio 702' reported that President Mwanawasa had died, quoting a Zambian High Commission spokesman. The radio report was picked and broadcast around the world by several international media, including afrol News.
President Mwanawasa (59) an outspoken critic of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, was rushed to hospital on Sunday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after suffering a stroke on the eve of an African Union summit. He was later transferred to Paris for treatment. Vice-President Banda said Mr Mwanawasa was being treated for hypertension.
Mr Mwanawasa chairs the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which has been mediating between President Mugabe and the opposition to try to end a political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
He suffered a mild stroke in 2006 but said before being re-elected that year that he was fit to stand for office.
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