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Russian, Algerian presidents vow to boost energy cooperation, economic ties
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08:35, February 20, 2008

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Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks on Tuesday with his visiting Algerian counterpart, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, pledging to boost economic and trade ties and energy cooperation with the North African country.

"It is extremely important for us to be in contact on issues and problems of energy, especially when Algeria heads OPEC this year," Russian news agencies Interfax and Itar-Tass cited Putin assaying during talks in the Kremlin.

Algeria is the world's fourth-largest gas exporter and ranks 14th among oil producers. Petrodollars account for more than 97 percent of the OPEC member state's foreign exchange revenues and are the pillar of the national economy.

Russia, meanwhile, ranks as the second-largest gas exporter and oil producer, and surging oil prices have also fueled the nation's economic growth.

Putin also hailed the development of Russian-Algerian relations.

"I am very pleased that relations with our key partner not only in North Africa but in the whole of the Mediterranean stand at a high level and are developing in various areas," he told Bouteflika.

Putin asked Algeria to provide equal conditions and facilitate the operation of Russian companies in Algeria when it signs a free trade zone with the European Union in 2012.

The two heads of state also welcomed Russian companies' victory in a railway construction bid in Algeria.

"I am happy that Russian companies have won the tender. We have reached agreement here," Bouteflika said, adding there was only some difference on the price.

Bouteflika's visit followed Putin's visit to Algeria in March 2006, during which the two sides signed an arms deal worth 7 billion U.S. dollars. In return, Russia cancelled the debts owed by Algeria to its financial institutions.

Source: Xinhua

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