Interview: Dmitry Medvedev
How does Russia intend to further develop its economic relations with Algeria?
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Algeria has been one of Russia’s primary trade and economic partners in Africa and the Arab world for years. Russian-Algerian trade doubled last year, reaching almost $4bn. While it is an impressive figure, I am confident that we can increase this considerably in the next few years by boosting cooperation in new areas.
Large Russian firms, such as Power Machines and Gazprom, have been working successfully in Algeria’s power engineering and geological exploration segments. Another example of Russian-Algerian cooperation is Renault Russia, which delivers car bodies to Algeria for final assembly. We plan to deliver bodies to assemble 18,000 cars this year. Other goals for the future include expanding the shipment to other car parts as well. Of course, we are ready to export finished goods, including civilian aircraft, cars, farming and railway equipment, as well as machinery.
We are actively cooperating with the energy sector and have many successful oil and gas projects to our credit. Russia and Algeria are major exporters of gas to Europe, and we are able to coordinate our actions at international venues, including the Gas Exporting Countries Forum and also the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. We have developed a solid legal framework around our cooperation in nuclear energy generation. If the Algerian authorities decide to develop their nuclear industry, we would be happy to help with technology and solutions. Russia is, in fact, already training professionals in the nuclear industry to provide support for Algeria.
We are also willing to discuss clean energy projects, namely wind and solar farms, and cooperation in agriculture looks very promising. Algeria buys large amounts of grain, and as Russia is the world’s leading exporter of grain, a trade relationship between Russia and Algeria is clearly beneficial to both countries.
In which sectors of the economy can bilateral cooperation be enhanced?
MEDVEDEV: I am confident that both our countries are interested in developing cooperation in other areas, and the Joint Russian-Algerian Commission on Trade, Economic and Scientific and Technical Cooperation has a key role there. This project helps develop interaction in all areas, including improving economy and cultural ties. Working groups across various spheres of cooperation meet on a regular basis. In fact, the commission’s eighth meeting was held in September 2017 and saw good results: we set out new cooperation plans in industry, transportation, construction, geology, agriculture, health care, research, space exploration and information technology. Our Algerian partners are working on turning their country into an industry and energy hub in North Africa, and they have assured us that they want our help implementing these plans.
What similarities are shared by Russia and Algeria in regard to international political issues?
MEDVEDEV: We stand for strengthening the leading role of the UN and its Security Council in maintaining peace and security in a multi-polar world. We agree that regional conflicts must be settled diplomatically based on the UN Charter and the supremacy of international law. Russia and Algeria have similar views on the right of nations around the world to choose their future and settle their domestic problems without external interference. We also agree that the proliferation of terrorism is a global challenge. It is only by joining forces that we can stand up against it. It is time for all states to set aside their differences in order to unite and rout ISIS and other extremist groups that constitute the biggest challenge to civilisation. We will continue to coordinate our positions on foreign policy issues, including those regarding the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
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