Russian foreign policy
Russian policy in Africa





Q.: Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem will reportedly be visiting Russia on April 22-24. Do you think the general background of Russo-Algerian relations is conducive to success of the visit?

A.: Russia attaches great significance to the upcoming routine visit to Moscow by the Algerian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Abdelaziz Belkhadem. Algeria has great authority with the Arab and Moslem world. Our nations have been tied by many years of friendship and mutual understanding, and the tradition of close communion. The further development of all-out co-operation with Algeria falls in line with Russia's long-term interests.

Russia expects the upcoming talks to dwell on the current state of and prospects for improving an entire spectrum of mutually beneficial bilateral contacts. The Declaration of Strategic Partnership President Vladimir Putin of Russia and his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika signed at the summit meeting in Moscow in April 2001 made a major impetus to the deepening of bilateral relations.

Q.: What are the prerequisites of and prospects for the development of bilateral co-operation?

A.: Sustainable political dialogue, including the top-level one, is an essential part of Russia-Algeria relations. It is based on mutual respect for national interests and a benevolent attitude to each other's concerns, on the concurrence or closeness of approaches to a wide range of international and regional problems. This forms a solid foundation for further co-ordination of actions in the politico-diplomatic area.

The two countries' objective is to nail down the current development dynamics and outline further co-operation guidelines. Among other things, the two countries must continue strengthening the legal and contractual basis of their partnership in trade and business, in the area of hi-tech, transport, culture, education, in the oil and gas, and energy sectors.

The sides therefore attach much significance to the first meeting the mixed inter-governmental commission for trade and economic, and scientific-technological co-operation will hold in Moscow in May-June.

Mr Blekhadem's visit will be a good opportunity to finally agree on approaches to the items that will dominate the agenda of this crucial inter-state meeting.

Q.: What issues of international and regional importance will dominate the agenda of talks between Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Abdelaziz Belkhadem?

A.: I should say that Russia and Algeria are advocates of a stable, just and multi-polar world order that would be based on the principles of equal rights and equality of sovereign countries, non-interference into other countries' internal affairs, peaceful settlement of disputes and predominance of international law. The United Nations must have a key role in international affairs and be the core of such a world order.

The two countries' stances on the problem of international terrorism whatever forms it may take are very similar.

As to the upcoming Moscow talks, they envisage a profound opinion exchange on the situation in and around Iraq. Both countries believe there is no alternative to directing the Iraqi settlement effort back into the political and legal channel in strict compliance with the UN Security Council's relevant resolutions and with the Organisation playing a central role in the process.

The Middle East developments will be prominent on the Moscow talks agenda as well. The countries' stances on the problems pertaining to the Palestinian-Israeli settlement are all but similar. They both urge the resumption of the peace process as stipulated in the "road map" settlement approved by the four international mediators to the Mideastern settlement.

Besides, in Moscow the sides will resume discussion of the Western Sahara problem. Russia's principled position on the matter, which Algeria shares in general, is that the problem must be resolved by political means in line with the UN-led peace efforts, above all, with the UN Peace Plan for Western Sahara.

Yet, Russia is open to considering other plans of untying this political knot that would be acceptable for all the parties to this longstanding dispute. This is why Russia welcomes the mediatory efforts by the UN Secretary General's Personal Envoy James Baker.

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