Algeria's President, Houari Boumedienne is seriously ill. The 51-year-old leader is believed to be suffering?
1965: LS Boumedienne (CENTRE RIGHT) seated talking with Egyptian Vice President Amer (CENTRE LEFT); MS Boumedienne PAN TO Amer (TWO SHOTS) (BW)
LS Boumedienne seated with new cabinet (BW)
1971: GV Blast furnace showering molten metal (COL)
SCU Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin with Boumedienne at steel works in Algeria (TWO SHOTS)
GV Kosygin and Boumedienne touring steelwords (TWO SHOTS)
1978: CUs Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev seated opposite Boumedienne (THREE SHOTS)
1972: MS Boumedienne and King Hassan of Morocco signing border treaty exchanging documents and embracing (TWO SHOTS)
1974: LS Boumedienne (CENTRE) Mao Tse-tung (CENTRE LEFT) seated with officials; MCU Mao PULL OUT TO Boumedienne and Mao; MCU PAN FROM Boumedienne to Mao (THREE SHOTS)
1975: LS French President Giscard down aircraft steps and greeted by Boumedienne
LS Band playing
LS Boumedienne and President Giscard walking on red carpet C/A soldiers at attention; LS Boumedienne walking with Giscard (THREE SHOTS)
1977: MCU PAN FROM Boumedienne seated TO Syrian President Assad and Colonel Gadaffi
CU Yasser Arafat PAN TO Boumedienne in MS ZOOM TO CU Boumedienne
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Background: Algeria's President, Houari Boumedienne is seriously ill. The 51-year-old leader is believed to be suffering from a severe kidney disease, and returned last week from the soviet Union, where he had been receiving medical treatment. Since his return, state affairs have been in the hands of the nine-member Council of the Revolution.
SYNOPSIS: A bloodless coup in June 1965 brought the then Colonel Boumedienne to power. His first foreign visitor was Egypt's Vice-President Amer. Three weeks later, a new government was formed. Most of its members had belonged to the previous administration of Ben Bella, independent Algeria's first leader. The creation of a socialist society, based on a sound economy, has been one of President Boumedienne's aims. Soviet aid has played an important part in Algeria's economic development. The president showed Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin around an Algerian steel factory.
The close ties with Moscow remain. President Boumedienne went there last month, and word emerged that he was being treated for his illness.
Relations with neighbour Morocco have not been so constant. Six years ago, at the closing session of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) conference in Rabat, President Boumedienne and Morocco's leader, King Hassan, signed an accord ending a ten-year dispute about their border. But since 1975, the two countries have argued over Morocco's claim to Spanish Sahara. Since early 1976, there have been periodic armed skirmishes between their forces. President Boumedienne's illness has prevented recent attempts to arrange a settlement.
President Boumedienne has built up foreign relations with caution. This approach has been influenced by the need to consolidate and build up national strength, though Algeria has remained committed on what it calls "anti-imperialism". His talks with Chairman Mao in 1974 were aimed at strengthening ties.
The visit of President Giscard d'Estaing in April 1975 was the first by a French leader since Algeria won independence from France in 1962. Four years after independence, Algeria signed two aid and economic agreements. But Franco-Algerian relations fell off, reaching a low in 1971, after disputes over Algerian oil. Since the middle of this year, however, Presidents Boumedienne and Giscard have been in touch several times, indicating a relaxation of attitudes.
In Middle East affairs, President Boumedienne has played a prominent part. Following Egypt's peace initiative last year, he acted as a mediator for the Arab rejectionist countries, trying to consolidate opposition to Israeli-Egyptian peace talks. His unconditional support for Palestinian resistance through the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), has not wavered. Considered a radical leader in the Arab, African a third worlds, President Boumedienne has been described as an austere and serious man, strongly determined to build Algeria into a powerful modern state.