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Report: Algeria's president transferred to Paris for treatment

From Pierre Meilhan, CNN
April 29, 2013 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
Algeria's president Abdelaziz Bouteflika is being treated for a
Algeria's president Abdelaziz Bouteflika is being treated for a "mini-stroke," according to the state-run Algerian news agency.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Abdelaziz Bouteflika is being treated at a Paris hospital, state-run news reports
  • Bouteflika's condition is not serious, the prime minister says
  • Bouteflika, 76, was first elected president in 1999

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

(CNN) -- Algeria's president was in France on Saturday where he was being treated for a "mini-stroke," medical and government officials told the state-run Algerian news agency.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's condition was characterized as "not serious," Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal told the Algerian Press Service.

The news agency reported the 76-year-old president was transferred to a Paris hospital for treatment.

"There was no reason for worry," Rachid Bougherbal, the director of the National Center of Sports Medicine told the news agency. He said the president "needs rest before continuing examinations."

Bouteflika was first elected president in 1999. He is considered central to the stability of the country, overseeing the end of the country's civil war, staving off Arab Spring uprisings and cooperating with Western powers in the fight against al Qaeda.

He has said he will step down at the end of his term next year.

Bouteflika has been rarely seen in public in recent years, which has led to speculation over his health.

In 2005 and 2006 he underwent treatment at a hospital in France for what the Algerian government characterized as a stomach ailment, which prompted rumors he was suffering from stomach cancer.

A U.S. diplomatic cable, released by WikiLeaks in 2011, said the Algerian president was suffering from cancer, but was in remission.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, the medical term for what is often called a mini-stroke is "transient ischemic attack," and produces symptoms similar to a stroke but usually causes no permanent damage. Such an attack "may be a warning ... About 1 in 3 people who have a transient ischemic attack eventually has a stroke," the website says.

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