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The New Arab

Algeria declares 8 days of mourning for Fidel Castro

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said he has lost a personal friend [AFP]

Date of publication: 27 November, 2016

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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Saturday announced an official mourning period of 8 days for the Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro who died on Friday night.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Saturday announced an official mourning period of 8 days following the death of Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro.

In a statement issued by the presidency, Bouteflika said Castro’s “death is a great loss for the Algerian people,” and declared a national mourning period that is to start on Sunday.

The Algerian president also sent his condolences to his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, in which he said that he has lost a friend that has accompanied him for half a century.

"With his passing, I lose personally, a friend and companion of more than half a century. This is also a great loss for the people of Algeria who have a special relationship with El Commandante, made of respect, admiration and mutual affection,” Bouteflika said.

Algeria and Cuba established diplomatic relations right after Algerian independence in 1962, and the Caribbean island state supported the North African nation’s reconstruction efforts, especially in the medical field.

Fidel Castro visited Algeria in 1972 and 1976 where he was welcomed with great pomp and ceremony. Castro’s last official visit to Algeria was in May 2001.

Castro died on Friday at the age of 90 in Havana.

"The commander-in-chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening," President Raul Castro announced on national television just after midnight Friday local time.

Living by the slogan "socialism or death", he kept the faith to the end, even as the Cold War came and went.

His rule endured numerous assassination attempts and the disastrous US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion attempt in 1961.

"If I am considered a myth, the United States deserves the credit," he said in 1988.

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