Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, February 8, 2009. REUTERS

President Barack Obama commended Algeria for formally lifting its state of emergency that has been in place for 19 years.

This is a positive sign that the Government of Algeria is listening to the concerns and responding to the aspirations of its people, and we look forward to additional steps by the government that enable the Algerian people to fully exercise their universal rights, including freedom of expression, association and assembly, Obama said.

The President said the U.S. was committed to continuing its cooperation with Algeria's government as it works to represent and meet the needs of all Algerians.

He said the U.S. would also continue to speak up about universal freedoms, justice and the dignity of every human being.