September 27, 2014 / 8:39 PM / 3 years ago

Zambia's President Sata leaves NY amid reports of ill health

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Zambian President Michael Sata left New York on Saturday - amid reports he was unwell - after thanking several of his ministers for representing him at the U.N. General Assembly and sideline meetings, Zambia’s mission to the United Nations said.

Zambia's President Michael Sata speaks at the opening ceremony of the annual Boao Forum in Boao, in southern China's Hainan province, April 7, 2013. REUTERS/Alexander F. Yuan/Pool

Sata missed his scheduled U.N. speech on Wednesday and instead his foreign minister addressed the world body on Friday. A diplomat at the United Nations told Reuters that Sata had been treated by doctors in his hotel room during his visit.

Zambia’s mission to the United Nations on Saturday released three photos of Sata. The mission said in a statement the president had left New York, but did not disclose his destination.

“Before departure President Sata held a meeting with his ministers,” the statement said. “President Sata commended the Ministers for competently representing him and Zambia at the meetings.”

Vice President Guy Scott told the Zambian parliament on Friday that the health of the 77-year-old Sata was “entirely normal.”

Concern about Sata’s health has been mounting since June, when he disappeared from the public eye without explanation and was then reported to be getting medical treatment in Israel.

At the opening of parliament last week, his first major public appearance in three months, Sata joked with lawmakers, telling them: “I am not dead.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Peter Cooney

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