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Chinese president inaugurates China-aided bridge construction project in Bamako
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21:00, February 13, 2009

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Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Malian counterpart Amadou Toumany Toure inaugurated a China-aided bridge construction project in the capital of Bamakoon Friday.

The bridge, the third one in Bamako, will be constructed by a Chinese company and will play an important role after its completion in the economic development of the western African country.

At the inauguration ceremony, the two leaders spoke highly of the project, saying it is the symbol of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

They said the project will serve as a bridge of friendship and cooperation linking the two countries.

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

Hu will also inaugurate a China-aided anti-malaria center and visit Chinese medical teams sent to help local people, before his departure for Senegal.

Hu arrived in Bamako on Thursday on the third leg of his five-nation "journey of friendship and cooperation." The tour will also take him to Tanzania and Mauritius. Hu visited Saudi Arabia before starting his tour of Africa.

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

This 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."

"China will fully implement the eight measures for China-Africa practical cooperation agreed at the summit despite the ongoing global financial crisis," Zhai said.

In the past two years, China has increased aid to African countries, eliminated tariffs on imported goods for some least developed African nations and written off part of the debts owed by African countries, Zhai said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told Xinhua last month: "The year 2009 is an important year for China-Africa relations to continue to move forward and will create new development opportunities for the bilateral ties. The Chinese leaders will continue to take the development of relations with Africa as a top priority of Chinese diplomacy."


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