Former Algerian President Bouteflika dies aged 84

The former President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has passed away at the age of 84.

The presidency disclosed the news on Friday, and comes more than two years after Bouteflika stepped down from the post.

Bouteflika was a veteran of Algeria's war for independence.

He ruled the North African country for two decades before resigning, under pressure from mass protests and the army, rejecting his plan to seek a fifth term in office.

He had rarely been seen in public before his departure since a stroke in 2013.

After Algeria gained independence in 1962, Bouteflika became the country's first foreign minister.

He was also an influential figure in the Non-Aligned Movement that gave a global voice to Africa, Asia and Latin America.

In 1974, as a president of the U.N. General Assembly, Bouteflika invited former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to address the body - a historic step toward international recognition of the Palestinain cause.

Bouteflika also demanded China be given a seat in the United Nations and railed against apartheid rule in South Africa.

As President of Algeria, he negotiated a truce with Islamist militants that were responsible for the deaths of more than 200, 000 people, restoring peace to the country.

Bouteflika had used oil and gas revenues to soothe internal discontent, and the state he ruled became more peaceful and prosperous.

For a while, that allowed it to sidestep the "Arab Spring" unrest that toppled leaders across the region in 2011.

But corruption flourished and Algerians grew increasingly angry at the political and economic situation.

That fuelled the mass protests that finally brought Bouteflika's presidency to an end.

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