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Published: Monday July 8, 2013 MYT 1:35:03 PM
Updated: Monday July 8, 2013 MYT 1:35:03 PM

President Bouteflika to return to Algeria soon - source

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is seen at the presidential palace in Algiers December 11, 2011. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is seen at the presidential palace in Algiers December 11, 2011. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is expected to leave hospital in Paris and return to Algeria soon, a source close to the presidency told Reuters on Monday.

Bouteflika was rushed to hospital in France on April 27 after a stroke.

The 76-year-old has ruled the North African oil and gas producer since 1999. He is part of an older generation of leaders who have dominated politics in a former French colony that supplies a fifth of Europe's natural gas imports and cooperates with the West in combating Islamist militancy.

Authorities have released little information about his stay in France. In an apparent move to quell speculation about his health, Bouteflika appeared on state television on June 12 meeting his prime minister and army chief of staff at the Institution Nationale des Invalides in Paris.

Algeria has been run with Soviet-style secrecy for decades by an elite drawn largely from men who fought in the war of independence against France from 1954 to 1962.

U.S. diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 said Bouteflika had been suffering from cancer but it was in remission.

(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi, Editing by William Maclean and Elizabeth Piper)

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