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Algeria: President’s health causes 10 heads of state to cancel visits

Image of Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika [Assabeel.net]
Image of Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika [Assabeel.net]

Algerian sources revealed that ten heads of state were scheduled to visit Algeria this year and have meetings with the President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, yet these visits have been perpetually cancelled.

The sources pointed out that the main reason for the cancellation of these visits was the state of Bouteflika’s health that has been deteriorating since 2013.

According to the electronic newspaper Algeria 1, among the heads of state who decided to cancel their visits to Algeria were the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nigerian President Mohammed Bukhari, South African President Jacob Zuma, Chinese President Shi Jean Ping, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Indonesian President Goku Widodo, Tunisian President Béji Caid Sibsi and the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah.

A visit by the French President Emmanuel Macron to Algeria that was supposedly scheduled for October or November will also be cancelled.

Read: Algeria moves to remove itself from high-risk list

However a number of world leaders have visited Algeria, mainly African presidents including the head of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, who visited Algeria last March.

Bouteflika also met the former French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux as well as the Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis in February.

Critics have said that the Algerian president’s remainder in power despite his ailing health is proof that the military leadership is working on finding an alternative which would appease all the political parties.

Bouteflika assumed the presidency in April 1999 and was re-elected in 2004, 2009 and 2014, and his supporters are preparing for a fifth term in the 2019 elections.

The Algerian president has made constitutional amendments that grant him the right to run for successive presidential terms, after the previous text of the Constitution limited the number of covenants to only two.

Read more: 20 British businessmen to visit Algeria

Since Bouteflika had a stroke and was taken to the French hospital of Val de Grace in April 2013, he remained in a wheelchair and lost his ability to speak.

The state of his health prompted some opposition parties to demand he step down but these calls were unanswered.

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