Algeria President Abdelaziz Bouteflika returns home after treatment in France


Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers City on Dec. 18, 2007.


Fayez Nureldine

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika returned home Tuesday after nearly three months of medical treatment at a hospital in France.

Officials said the 76-year-old arrived in Algeria at a military airport after a two-hour flight. Bouteflika, who has been president of the African country for over a decade, went to Paris after suffering a stroke in late April.

Analysts have said his health issues have taken away his chances of running for another presidential term next year.

A statement from the president's office said Bouteflika will now enter "a period of rest and recovery."

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The statement did not mention his current condition, but Algerian TV showed a photo of Bouteflika being arriving at the Algiers airport. He was visibly weak and appeared much frailer and thinner as he greeted the prime minister and army chief from his wheelchair.

The absence of Bouteflika, who has led Algeria since 1999, had caused concern in his country, where al Qaeda-linked militant groups are known to be active.

Some opposition figures suggested the Constitutional Council in Algiers should declare the presidential post vacant and appoint an interim leader until new elections could be held.

Algeria is one of Europe's top suppliers of natural gas. It cooperates with Western nations in the fight against Islamist militancy.