Army General Raúl Castro Ruz conveyed greetings from Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Photo: Estudio Revolución

ALGIERS.— On Monday afternoon, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika received at his official residence Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, who in his first words conveyed greetings from Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz to this friend of Cuba.

The two conversed for over two hours, both privately and with their accompanying delegations. Afterwards, Raúl spoke with the Cuban and Algerian press regarding his impressions over the past few days and the friendship between the two countries.

On responding to questions regarding relations between the two nations, the Cuban President expressed, “We stand by and support Algeria,” adding, “What would become of this part of northern Africa without the stability that Algeria enjoys today?” whilst acknowledging the common sense of Algerian principles in the international arena.

“When I look at the global picture, I get the feeling that they are going crazy, wars here, bombing there, interventions, the destruction of countries, madness, what is the world coming to? That’s why I state my opinion without hesitation, and accordingly I share it with my delegation, the foreign policy of the Republic of Algeria is very positive.”

Among the topics discussed during his visit, Raúl mentioned the interest of both parties in the production of vaccines and medicines, as well as continued cooperation on public health.

He recalled that the first international mission of Cuban medicine was precisely in Algeria, in 1963, led by the now Second Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, José Ramón Machado Ventura.

Raúl also spoke with reporters about current issues on the island, including the crucial role of Cuban women in the country's development and the demographic challenges faced by the nation. Some facts about Algeria The official name of the country is the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.

It has the largest land area in Africa (after Sudan split into two nations), bordered on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, with Tunisia to the northeast, Libya to the east, Niger in the southeast, Mali and Mauritania to the southwest, along with Morocco and Western Sahara to the west.

Algeria, with 39,500,000 inhabitants, is named after its capital and largest city, Algiers, which means “the islands” in reference to the small islets located in its port.

The life expectancy of Algerians is around 77 years and the population growth rate stands at 2.15%. This North African nation shows favorable macroeconomic indicators due to its oil exports income, although this has been diminished by the recent fall in oil prices.

It is estimated that Algeria has 12,200 million barrels of proven oil reserves, the third largest amount in Africa after Libya and Nigeria.

Its proven natural gas reserves are calculated at 159 trillion cubic feet, second in the continent after Nigeria. Among its main export products, in addition to oil and gas, are dates, fruits and wines.