The body of long-time Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi has arrived back from Brussels following a short unconfirmed illness.

Thousands of people turned up to see the casket draped in the green, gold and red national flag, travel onto the capital Addis Ababa where it will lie in state at the national palace. National flags are flying at half-mast and the whole country is mourning his death.

Meles became the president from 1991 to 1995 and was elected prime minister in 1995. His death has shocked and saddened Ethiopians throughout the country. This distraught woman speaking in Amharic said he will be sadly missed.

"He was like a father and a mother for the women. He was a leader, a father who made everyone equal. He educated everyone. I am speechless. I have nothing more to say."

People are shocked at the news and can't believe Meles has died.

"I was shocked when I heard the news in the morning. I couldn't believe my ears. So, I am really saddened. He had a lot of unfinished projects at this young age. I am really saddened from my heart."

Mr Hailemariam, who was appointed deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister in 2010, will be sworn in as prime minister after an emergency meeting of parliament. There has been international speculation that with the death of Meles, the country may descend into turmoil, as in recent years he had become a close ally of the United States in fighting Islamic militants in East Africa, especially in neighbouring Somalia. But a government spokesman Bereket Simon has that 'everything was stable in the country'.

Written and Presented by Ann Salter