President Sarkozi said the death of Dr. Berhanu was a loss not only to Ethiopia but also to Africa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told ENA.
A press release from the French Embassy in Addis Ababa also said "Professor Berhanu Abebe will be sorely missed".
"An incredible mind and a wonderful scholar, Professor Berhanu Abebe was, all through his lifetime, a committed and outstanding proponent of the Ethiopian culture as well as of Francophony.”
“A lawyer, historian and erudite , Professor Berhanu Abebe was entrusted with prestigious positions, which he owed to his great talent: an academic and researcher of great renown, he was also appointed Vice-president of the PanAfrican Congress and Deputy General Manager of the Ethio-French Railway Company.”
“Professor Berhanu Abebe authored a French-Amharic dictionary and an Amharic-French one and translated several pieces of work into Amharic (notably "le Bateau ivre", by French poet Arthur Rimbaud). In 1998, he published a remarkable history of Ethiopia in French, a testimony of his love for both Ethiopia, his native country, and France, to which he was the greatest of friends.”
"France honored Professor Berhanu Abebe's many achievements by bestowing upon him its greatest destinations: he was made a knight of l'Ordre National du Mérite, an Officer of the Palmes Académiques (for academic excellence), a knight of La Légion d'Honneour and a Commander of "Arts et Lettres"'.
His commitment to the values of peace and dialogue, and his humanist principles were at the heart of his life, it said. On the occasion of the bi-centenary of the French revolution, Professor Berhanu Abebe had translated the Declaration of human Rights into Amharic.