Spain and Algeria agree closer economic ties
25 February 2005, MADRID-The leaders of Algeria and Spain agreed to increase economic and legal cooperation between their countries, following high-level talks in the Spanish capital.
25 February 2005
MADRID-The leaders of Algeria and Spain agreed to increase economic and legal cooperation between their countries, following high-level talks in the Spanish capital.
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika flew into Madrid for talks with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, intended to pave the way for a Euro-Mediterranean summit in Barcelona later this year.
"Spain reiterates its political support for the reform process launched by President Bouteflika, the policy of national reconciliation, and the process of modernisation and economic liberalisation," they said in a joint statement.
The Algerian leader met with King Juan Carlos during the visit, his first since the Socialists came to power in Spain in March last year.
He also confirmed that he would take part in an international summit on security and terrorism, to be held in Madrid on 8-10 March.
Bouteflika and Zapatero also discussed the situation in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, which was annexed by Morocco in 1975 after gaining independence from Spain.
Concerning Western Sahara, both leaders stressed their "commitment to seeking a just and definitive solution within the framework of international law" and "through political dialogue".
Madrid is seeking Algeria's support in resolving the dispute -- Algeria has backed the movement fighting for independence in the territory.
On the judicial front, Bouteflika and Zapatero agreed to set up a ministerial-level working group to look into cooperation on such issues as terrorism and extradition procedures.
They also signed a deal whereby Algerian magistrates and judges will be eligible for training in Spain.
Zapatero said an action plan would be set up to promote Spanish business interests in Algeria, focusing on rail and maritime transport, ports, and the construction and air traffic control sectors.
In particular, Zapatero said, the construction of a pipeline that will carry Algerian gas under the Mediterranean sea and into southern Spain was a leading priority for both countries.
Work is due to begin in July on the 750-kilometre (470-mile) pipeline, to be built by the Medgaz consortium, which comprises Cepsa, Sonatrach, BP,TotalFinaElf, GDF and Endesa.
The two countries also renewed an agreement converting debt to investment, that was due to expire in March.
Algeria and Spain are linked by a friendship and cooperation treaty, signed during a state visit by Bouteflika in October 2002.
The Euro-Mediterranean summit, to be held in November, will mark the 10th anniversary of a cooperation programme between the European Union and the countries on the southern rim of the Mediterranean.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news