Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

French PM hails change in French-Algerian relations

Latest update : 2008-06-21

Along with drumming up support for Sarkozy's Mediterranean Union project, French Prime Minister François Fillon and his Algerian counterpart signed an accord on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. (Story: K.Williams)

 

ALGIERS - France and former colony Algeria signed defence and civil nuclear power accords on Saturday, which Paris described as a sign of a "transformation" in the countries' ties.

 

Making the first visit by a French premier in 22 years, Prime Minister Francois Fillon declared French firms would not be driven out of the north African country by armed groups, following the death of a Frenchman in a bombing this month.

 

"We will not give in to threats," El Watan newspaper quoted him as saying in an interview marking his two-day visit to France's largest trading partner in Africa, which still suffers sporadic attacks by rebels fighting for purist Islamic rule.

 

Al Qaeda's north Africa wing said it was behind twin bombings that killed a French engineer in Algeria on June 8 east of Algiers and vowed more attacks against "Crusaders".

 

The engineer was the first French citizen killed in political violence in Algeria since the 1990s when the country plunged into a civil conflict that killed up to 200,000 people.

 

Fillon and Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem presided over the signing of an accord on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It provides for cooperation in research, training, technology transfer and the exploration and production of uranium, sectors of interest to French nuclear plant builder Areva.

"This is an historic moment that is representative of the transformation in our relations," Fillon said, accompanied by six ministers including Defence Minister Herve Morin and Economic Strategy Minister Christine Lagarde.

 

 

 

'CLEAR SIGNAL'

 

"There is no clearer signal of France's intention to establish an exceptional partnership with Algeria."

 

Algerian commentators say sometimes prickly political ties remain hostage to the past. Many of Algeria's leaders took part in an eight-year struggle against France that ended with independence in 1962.

 

French business executives say their country's sometimes stormy political ties with Algeria are no obstacle to business links, although Algerian red tape can be a headache.

 

More than 250 companies have business with Algeria, employing 120,000 people directly and 40,000 indirectly, mainly in the building and public works sectors and water.

 

Belkhadem, reiterating a call for a loosening of visa rules, said bilateral ties could not reach their full potential if they were "amputated from their human dimension".

 

Algeria's demand for more visas and work permits is a staple of relations with France. The official APS news agency quoted Belkhadem as saying that there was a need for "a greater fluidity in the movement of people between the two countries".

Ministers also signed an accord on defence cooperation and initialled a memorandum of understanding on financial cooperation to simplify legal procedures for French businesses.

 

Fillon said Algeria and France should examine together "all opportunities for industrial cooperation in the armaments sector." Among sales opportunities sought by French defence contractors are multipurpose frigates and helicopters.

 

Companies included in Fillon's entourage are Total, Gaz de France, EADS, Arianespace, Saint-Gobain and naval shipyard DCNS.

 

 

Date created : 2008-06-21

COMMENT(S)