France, Algeria agree to further boost economic-industrial relations

GMT 18:52 2014 Friday ,05 December

Arab Today, arab today France, Algeria agree to further boost economic-industrial relations

French PM Manuel Valls
Paris - KUNA

France and Algeria, meeting here in an intergovernmental "summit", agreed Friday to work together to further boost economic and industrial relations so they reach "the level of excellence of their political relations." The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal have presided over two days of high-level meetings, including tens of ministers on each side, business representatives and other parties.
Sellal, who met with President Francois Hollande on Thursday, closed the joint intergovernmental committee sessions alongside Valls and both governments "set out ambitious objectives on all levels of bilateral relations," the French Prime Minister's office said.
Both sides signed a number of agreements in this context and with the aim of furthering the "Road Map" drawn up in Oran in November by the two nations.
Accords or cooperation commitments were signed relative to energy, energy technology and nuclear cooperation, tourism, agriculture, urbanism, administrative and social affairs, education, judiciary, visas and migration and infrastructure and housing, as well as on culture and sports.
"The two parties welcomed the level reached by their bilateral economic partnership and expressed the willingness to reinforce this in order to intensify trade and the links between their economies and companies," a statement said here after the meetings.
There was also agreement that a ministerial meeting and joint economic commission meeting would be held in the second quarter of 2015 to review progress on the accords and commitments.
Further cooperation on defence is also listed as one of the objectives of the meetings here and "concrete proposals" are to be made in the coming months. A more "dynamic" approach to security issues and military developments will also be taken, particularly for aeronautics, technology transfer and health in the military sector.
Indeed, security cooperation and the fight against terrorism and the regional situation in the Sahel-Sahara region was given special focus in the accords signed.
France also reiterated its support for Algerian mediation in Mali and the goal of getting a peaceful accord between the different parties in that country.
Both sides also agreed that claims against France for damage due to its nuclear testing in Algeria during the 1960s could be again submitted in the first quarter of 2015 to authorities in Paris.
France has already paid out some compensation for environmental and personal damage during this period but Algeria wants re-examination of the issue and consideration of other files.
Overall, the "summit" also tried to improve the political atmosphere between the two countries after decades of relative tension since Algeria won independence from France in a bitter war that ended in 1962, with an estimated 700,000 dead on the Algerian side and 25,000 on the French side.
France has admitted to torture and abuses during the war but while acknowledging the suffering of the Algerian people, has never agreed to formally apologise for the actions of its army.

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