x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE and Algeria strengthen ties

Relations between the UAE and Algeria are growing from strength to strength, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister, said yesterday.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, left, at a majiis gathering with Algerian officials. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, left, at a majiis gathering with Algerian officials. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI // Relations between the UAE and Algeria are growing from strength to strength, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister, said yesterday.

In a statement to the Algerian news agency, ahead of his official visit to Algeria today, Sheikh Abdullah emphasised the relations between the two countries.

"The UAE has a significant relationship with Algeria underpinned by common values and interests," he said.

"We share a distinguished record of active cooperation ever since we established diplomatic relations in 1974. Today, our bilateral relations are multifaceted and growing rapidly, we are regular dialogue partners at the highest levels across government and are like-minded on pressing global issues, regional security and multilateral cooperation."

Sheikh Abdullah arrives in Algiers today with a large delegation of Emirati businessmen and will hold meetings with senior officials.

The Foreign Minister said that in his talks with prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal today, they will discuss important regional questions, including the Middle East peace process and the Syrian crisis.

"We are proud of the brotherly relations that link us and Algeria. We are happy to continue developing and strengthening our relationship for the benefit of both our countries and the region as a whole," he said.

"We share a common point of view of urgent international issues, regional security and bilateral co-operation. We both share values of co-operation, stability, a moderate approach and tolerance".

The UAE and Algeria's relationship is based on political, economic, investment and cultural cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah said.

"These relationships go back to the early seventies, since December 2, 1971, after the announcement of the establishment of the United Arab Emirates, when Algeria was one of the first Arab countries to announce its recognition of the UAE," he said.

The founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, and the President, Sheikh Khalifa, have each met Algerian presidents on several visits.

The UAE is home to about 10,000 Algerian expatriates.

Sheikh Abdullah said the 11th meeting of the bilateral Joint UAE Algerian Committee earlier this month, in Abu Dhabi, resulted in the signing of agreements related to trade, air and sea transport.

"We have 10 flights between our two countries which have helped to increase contacts between our two peoples. There is no doubt that business is an important driver of the close relationship between our two nations," he said.

According to Sheikh Abdullah, major UAE companies such as Dubai World, Mubadala, Al Qudra, Arabtec, Aabar Investments and Emaar, have a presence in Algeria.

Bilateral trade between the two countries reached US$271 million (Dh995m) in the first eight months.

"We hope that UAE investment in Algeria will increase significantly over the next few years, which would promote prosperity in both countries," he said.

The two countries have signed more than 30 cooperation agreements since relations were established. Among the agreements signed were those relating to the economy, investment, tourism, prevention of double taxation, education, judiciary, agriculture, environment and the media.

The two countries also signed an agreement to set up an aluminium smelter in Algeria, this year, at a cost of US$5 billion.

Additionally, Gulf Pharmaceuticals Industries, Julphar, laid the foundation to set up a pharmaceutical production unit in Algeria.

A number of infrastructure, development and service projects, covering irrigation, electricity and housing, are being financed by the Abu Dhabi Development Fund in Algeria at a cost of Dh256m.

amustafa@thenational.ae