Pt Sarkozy in Algeria state visit with an important accompanying delegation

Pt Sarkozy in Algeria state visit with an important accompanying delegation

Ech-Chorouk, December 02, 2007

French President Nicholas Sarkozy is starting on Monday 3 December, a 3-day state visit to Algeria at the invitation of President Abdellaziz Bouteflika.

The French head of state is accompanied by 5 senior cabinet members, 150 business leaders and entrepreneurs as well a large number of prominent French personalities and other figures of Algerian ethnic background.

During his stay, the visiting French President will be having a series of talks with President Bouteflika on bilateral relations and on ways of further boosting economic cooperation and exchanges between Algeria and France.

In addition, the two sides would take up discussion of a programme of cooperation between medium-sized companies of the two countries.

A further issue during the visit is expected to be Sarkozy’s proposal for a Mediterranean union with concrete projects in transportation, energy, water supplies and education.

The French President said in interview remarks Sunday he aimed to conclude economic deals worth 5 billion dollars during his visit to Algeria.

In remarks reported by the Algerian news agency APS, President Sarkozy said the state energy concern Gaz de France was planning to invest 1 billion dollars, while the oil group Total planned 1.5 billion dollars’ worth of investments in Algeria.

Casting a shadow on the visit, ahead of time, were controversial remarks made in a newspaper interview by the Minister for War Veterans Mohammed Cherif Abbes, who last week said Sarkozy owed his electoral victory to ‘the Jewish lobby”.

In the furor that followed, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika declared that the uncalled for remarks made by the war veterans Minister did not reflect the Algerian state’s official position and telephoned Sarkozy to assure him that he was welcome in Algeria.

President Sarkozy then said in a TV statement he would be travelling to Algeria ‘as a friend.’

Story by: M. Meslem // Translated by: Med. B.