Hollande in Algeria to discuss anti-terrorism cooperation

(AGI) Algiers, June 15 - France's president, Francois Hollande,travelled to Algeria on Monday for his second official visitsince 2012. Hollande was greeted by the president of theAlgerian parliament, Abdelkader Bensalah, and will meet withhis counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Prime MinisterAbdelmalek Sellal. "On the eve of my second visit in Algeria,I'm measuring the progress that has been made," Hollande said,underlining that the intergovernmental committee presided bythe two countries' prime ministers has set out a framework forgreater cooperation in all sectors. Strengthening ties withAlgeria is vital, Hollande said, especially in terms of

(AGI) Algiers, June 15 - France's president, Francois Hollande,travelled to Algeria on Monday for his second official visitsince 2012. Hollande was greeted by the president of theAlgerian parliament, Abdelkader Bensalah, and will meet withhis counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Prime MinisterAbdelmalek Sellal. "On the eve of my second visit in Algeria,I'm measuring the progress that has been made," Hollande said,underlining that the intergovernmental committee presided bythe two countries' prime ministers has set out a framework forgreater cooperation in all sectors. Strengthening ties withAlgeria is vital, Hollande said, especially in terms of itscontribution to regional stability and security. He lauded theAlgerian authorities' efforts towards reaching a politicalsolution for Libya and their decisive role in thereconciliation process in Mali. Economic cooperation betweenFrance and Algeria was another topic in Hollande's speech, inwhich he cited Renault's intention to increase its productionat its Orano and Alstom facilities in the Annaba province. Some7,000 French companies export to Algeria, while around 450 aredirectly active on the territory, providing approximately140,000 jobs. Hollande's visit was widely welcomed in Algiers,with Prime Minister Sellal stating that it was a strong sign ofexcellent bilateral relations. "The talks will contribute tostrengthen the bonds between France and Algeria and will opennew prospects for cooperation," Sellal told the French daily"Le Parisien". The war against Islamist terrorism will be onthe agenda for the discussions, chiefly the crisis in Libya,which Sellal described as worrying but not insurmountable. "Weare working in a coordinated and organised fashion with thefirm will to achieve peace and the hope that the sum of thesegood intentions will bring about a process of peacefulpolitical transition, allowing Libya to become a land ofserenity and prosperity," Sellal concluded. Despite theAlgerian authority's positive attitude, Hollande's visitsparked criticism from the Algerian government's opposition.The president of the Islamic party Movement of the Society ofPeace (MVP), Abderazzak Mokri, affirmed on Monday that"France's influence in Algeria has greatly increased in recentyears", and added that Hollande's arrival in Algiers is a signof Paris's continuing support for the current government. "Thereasons for this visit are vague. We're aware that Paris has anextraordinary influence on Algiers," said Mokri, who statedthat France has sent dozens of lobbyists to Algeria to advanceits interests. Algeria, Mokri asserted, is now in the hands ofFrench authorities, who exploit their strategic position todeal with problems in other areas in the region and find anoutlet for their commercial products.. .

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