Merkel scraps Algiers trip due to Bouteflika poor health

Algiers (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel called off a visit to Algeria on Monday "at the last minute" because President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was suffering acute bronchitis, the two countries announced.

"Algerian and German authorities have today mutually agreed to postpone the official visit" of Merkel, Algeria's presidency said in a statement.

"This postponement is due to the fact that Mr Bouteflika, who is at his residence in Algiers, is temporarily unavailable due to acute bronchitis," it added.

In Berlin, the chancellor's office said: "The Algerian government asked at the last minute that the visit be called off" and Merkel had accepted.

Merkel had been due to arrive in the capital at 1700 GMT as part of efforts to get North African countries to reduce the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean into Europe.

Bouteflika, 79, suffered a mini-stroke in 2013 that affected his mobility and speech. He has appeared in public since on only a handful of occasions and has travelled several times to France for medical treatment.

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