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Malian president: Mali to cherish friendship with China as always

Source: Xinhua | 02-11-2009 17:04

Special Report:   President Hu visits 5 nations

BAMAKO, Mali, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- President Amadou Toumany Toure says Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming trip to Mali is a historical visit that will help spread friendship and boost mutual understanding.

In an interview with Xinhua prior to Hu's state visit to Mali, Toure hailed the diplomatic relations with China forged on Oct. 25,1960, saying the west African country will always cherish the friendship.

"Mali is the first African country on Hu's itinerary, which is of great significance and an important symbol of bilateral goodwill ties," the president told Xinhua.

"Mali has stood side-by-side with China, and the two countries share similar views on national liberation and state independence," he said.

He said friendship between the two countries has developed well since the two countries established diplomatic ties.

"Just with China's assistance, we built the first industrial infrastructure of our country," he said.

China has constructed numerous infrastructure projects for Mali and it is still helping the country with its development, Toure said.

"The Chinese friends built roads, bridges, factories and hospitals for us ... and many large-scale projects in Mali are now being constructed with China's assistance," he said.