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20 February 2018, 11:44

Belarus, Algeria agree to advance cooperation to brand-new level

MINSK, 20 February (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria Abdelkader Messahel on 20 February, BelTA informs.

“The level of relations which exists between Belarus and your friendly country is far from ideal, especially against the backdrop of the fall in the trade and economic ties. Both you and us have not done our best,” Alexander Lukashenko said. “Therefore, I said, half joking, half serious, that you finally arrived in Minsk hoping that your visit will give a serious impetus to the development of our relations. I hope that we will at least restore the previous level of relations between our countries.”

Abdelkader Messahel stays in Minsk on a visit on 19-21 February. This is the first visit of the Algerian minister of foreign affairs to Belarus. The program of the visit also includes meetings with the senior officials of the Belarusian parliament and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Plans have been made to sign a number of international documents.

Diplomatic relations between Belarus and Algeria were established on 24 October 1995. The presidents of the two countries met at the Millennium Summit in New York in 2000 and at the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana in 2006. Belarusian ministers of foreign affairs, defense, agriculture and food paid official visits to Algeria in various years. In November 2003, the industry minister of Algeria visited Belarus. The ministers of foreign affairs met several times at international forums.

There is a working group for cooperation with the parliament of Algeria at the Belarusian National Assembly.

The Algerian side is mulling over bilateral draft agreements on setting up a joint interparliamentary commission, mutual protection of investments, military and technical cooperation, visa-free trips for holders of diplomatic and service passports, cooperation in science and technology, education, veterinary science, agriculture.

The potential of the Belarusian-Algerian cooperation is not used in full. To a certain extent it is attributed to Algeria's prioritizing trade with the European Union countries where the state enjoys such preferential terms as zero tariff rates.

In 2017, Belarus' major exports were potash fertilizers and stationery, major imports were medication and fruit.

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