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Chinese President starts state visit to Mali

Source: Xinhua | 02-13-2009 08:12

Special Report:   President Hu visits 5 nations

BAMAKO, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Malian people waving flags welcomed Chinese President Hu Jintao on his arrival on Thursday in the Mali capital of Bamako on his first visit to this western African nation.

Hu was received by his Malian counterpart Amadou Toumany Toure at the airport and by big crowds lining the main streets of Bamako.

"Friendship between both people goes back a long way as Mali was among the earliest African countries to establish diplomatic relations with China," Hu said in a statement released upon arrival.

"Both countries have achieved fruitful cooperation in various fields over the past 49 years. China cherishes its ties with Mali and would like to enhance our friendship and cooperation," Hu said.

"I look forward to discussing with President Toure and other Malian leaders bilateral relations and international issues of common concern," Hu said.

During his two-day stay in Bamako, Hu will hold talks with Toure and meet with President of the Malian National Assembly Dioncounda Traore, according to diplomatic sources.