The former president of Algeria, Abdelaziz Buteflika, has died, Algerian authorities announced on Friday. He was 84 years old. Buteflika resigned more than two years ago, forced to do so by the army and under pressure from mass protests.
Abdelaziz Buteflika took part in the war of Algeria against France for independence in the 1950s and 1960s. After Algeria won its independence in 1962 under the treaty signed in Évian-les-Bains, Butelika was the first Algerian minister of foreign affairs and an influential figure in the non-aligned movement.
As President of the UN General Assembly, Buteflik invited in 1974 the then leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Arafat to deliver a speech at this forum. This was crucial for the official recognition of the PLO by the international community. He also demanded a place for China at the United Nations and argued against racial segregation in South Africa.
In the 1980s he was in exile in Dubai, where he went after the death of President Huari Bumedien. In the 1990s, he returned to Algeria, shaken by a civil war against Islamists, in which around 200,000 people died. people.
Two decades of presidency
In 1999, Buteflika was elected president. He managed to negotiate a truce agreement with Islamists and initiated a process of national reconciliation, which ensured peace for the country. He ruled the country for two decades until he resigned in April 2019.
Buteflika stepped down under pressure from the army and mass street demonstrations, whose participants protested against his intention to run for a fifth term.
After President Buteflik left office, he stayed at his Zeralda residence, near Algiers. He was rarely seen in public, and suffered a stroke in 2013.
Main photo source: EPA