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Lavrov to discuss situation in North Africa, Middle East with Algerian top diplomat

The ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing that Russia and Algeria had similar approaches to the Syria and Libya issues

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks with his Algerian counterpart Abdelkader Messahel who is currently on a working visit to Moscow, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Abdelkader Messahel’s visit to Moscow will allow the parties to have a thorough exchange of views on pressing regional and global issues," the statement reads. "In particular, they are planned to discuss the situation in North Africa, the Sahara-Sahel region, Libya and Syria, as well as the Palestine-Israel conflict and other issues of mutual interest," the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

The ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing that Russia and Algeria had similar approaches to the Syria and Libya issues. "We consider Algeria to be one of our leading partners in Africa and the Muslim world," she said.

The Algerian top diplomat is also expected to hold meetings with officials from the Russian Security Council and members of the State Duma (lower house of parliament).

Heavy agenda

The Russian and Algerian foreign ministers will particularly pay attention to the current state of and the prospects for trade and economic cooperation. The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that Algeria was one of Russia’s major partners in Africa and the Arab world with bilateral trade reaching $3.2 bln in the first ten months of 2017. "There are possibilities for increasing the effectiveness of our cooperation in the energy sphere, particularly within the Gas Exporting Countries Forum," the statement says.

A vast program of steps to boost cooperation, including knowledge-intensive areas such as the peaceful use of nuclear energy, was agreed on during Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Algeria in October 2017. In particular, the parties signed an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, a healthcare cooperation program and an education cooperation program. Besides, a memorandum on cooperation was singed between Russia’s Transneft oil company and Algeria’s Sonatrach government-owned company, as well as a memorandum between Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation and Algeria’s nuclear energy authority on joint staff training, and a memorandum between the Biocad and Biomad SPA companies.

"We believe that conditions have been created for further close cooperation with Algeria so our friendly relations will continue to evolve," the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.