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Algerian president hosts Raul Castro
The two leaders were aiming to reinforce bilateral ties and also planned to discuss regional and international questions of common interest, the Algerian presidency said.

Quoted by APS, the Cuban president hailed the "important" links between the two countries.

"Algerian-Cuban relations have always been clear and honest," Castro said, "(They) have not just been maintained, but have been strengthened over time."

Castro, who arrived in Algiers on Saturday for his first official visit there as Cuban leader, visited a memorial marking Algeria's 1954-1962 war of independence from France.

He also inspected the presidential guard.

Castro had previously been in Russia and Angola before flying to Algiers for a three-day visit.

Algeria and Cuba established ties in 1962. The two countries signed a number of cooperation agreements in 2005 covering areas such as health, sports, fisheries and culture.

Castro's ailing elder brother Fidel visited Algiers seven times as leader, and Bouteflika also visited Havana in 2006 -- shortly after the younger Castro took over the presidency.

Cuban volunteers also serve in Algeria, mostly in the health field, and Cuba manages several eye clinics in the north African country with more in the works.

Earlier this month, an Algerian pharmaceutical company also struck a deal with a Cuban counterpart to produce locally a vaccine against Hepatitis B.


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