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Latest update : 2009-04-20

In an address after taking an oath for his third term in office, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has hailed the reconciliation process as "allowing for the return of civilian peace." He won this month's election with 90% of the vote.

AFP - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika vowed Sunday to pursue national reconciliation, after being sworn in for a third five-year term.

In an address after taking his oath of office, Bouteflika hailed the reconciliation process as "allowing for the return of civilian peace and ... in the future, contributing to reaffirm social cohesion and guarantee national unity."

Declared winner of this month's election with more than 90 percent of the vote, 72-year-old Bouteflika began the reconciliation process at the start of his first term in 1999, to end an Islamist insurgency that killed more than 150,000 people.

Thousands of Islamists turned themselves in following two referendums on the issue, in 1999 and 2005.

During his election campaign, Bouteflika floated the possibility of another referendum to extend an amnesty to armed Islamists who agree to put down their weapons for good.

At the same time, he vowed to step up the fight against hard-core extremists.

While Islamist attacks have diminished substantively, Al-Qaeda's North Africa branch remains active in certain parts of the North African country where oil wealth has yet to bring about widespread prosperity.

Bouteflika also vowed during his campaign to improve living conditions and to offer better employment prospects for disenfranchised youth.

Date created : 2009-04-20