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Hu praises China-backed bridge project in Mali city

VISITING Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Malian counterpart Amadou Toumany Toure inaugurated a China-aided bridge construction project in Bamako yesterday.

The bridge will be built by a Chinese company and play an important role in the economic development of the West African country.

At the inauguration ceremony, the two leaders said the project will serve as a bridge of friendship and cooperation linking the two nations.

Before the ceremony, Hu met the president of the Malian National Assembly, Dioncounda Traore.

Hu's agenda also included the inauguration of a China-aided anti-malaria center and a visit to Chinese medical teams sent to help local people.

Hu arrived in Bamako on Thursday as part of his five-nation "journey of friendship and cooperation."

Hu visited Saudi Arabia before starting his tour of Africa. The tour will also take him to Tanzania and Mauritius.

During his stay in Mali, Hu held talks with Toure on bilateral, international and regional issues of common concern.

The present trip is Hu's second African tour since the landmark China-Africa summit in 2006 when he announced eight measures promoting China's ties with Africa, including massive tariff cuts and debt exemption for scores of African countries as well as doubling aid to Africa over a three-year period.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun expressed his hope last week that Hu's visit would "promote a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa and the implementation of policy measures announced at the summit."

Hu arrived in the Senegalese capital of Dakar yesterday on the first state visit to the West African country. He was received by his Senegalese counterpart Abdoulaye Wade at a welcoming ceremony at the airport.

In a statement issued upon arrival, Hu said the countries enjoy good friendship, and the resumption of diplomatic ties has helped the development of bilateral cooperation in politics, trade, culture, education and public health among others.


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