Vietnam - A Friendly Partner of Algeria
Algerian Ambassador to Vietnam Cherif Chikhi (left) talks with
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
(VEN) - On the occasion of the 57th anniversary of the National Day of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria (November 1, 1954 - November 1, 2011) and the 49th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Algeria (October 28, 1962 - October 28, 2011). Vietnam Economic News' Thu Hang talked with Algerian Ambassador to Vietnam, Cherif Chikhi, about the relationship between the two countries.
Vietnam and Algeria have a special traditional relationship. What feelings would you like to share with the peoples of the two countries about the history of this relationship?
Algeria and Vietnam share a common history which, indeed, has given a special character to the relations between the two countries. They, both, gained independence by arms and at a high price of sacrifices. These glorious pages will remain forever engraved in memories.
The strong ties of solidarity that our two countries forged in the struggle for the recovery of freedom and sovereignty are the basis of the spontaneous warmth that characterize the relationships they maintain since that painful period. Our two peoples can be proud of this glorious common history.
Algeria celebrates, this year, the 57th anniversary of the Glorious Revolution of November 1st, 1954. This is a key date in our history. It is the day of the launching of the armed struggle that lasted seven and a half years and that allowed the Algerian people to regain their voice and their destiny. On this occasion, my first thought goes spontaneously to the memory of the brave martyrs who gave their lives for the independence of Algeria and marked with letters of nobility these prestigious pages of history. All these heroes will remain forever alive in our hearts.
October 28, 2011, will mark the 49th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Algeria and Vietnam. We will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this event next year. During this long period, our two countries have remained faithful to the unshakable friendship which they sealed in the hardship. They have continually fostered this friendship and striven for the bilateral cooperation development.
The Algerian and Vietnamese peoples are certainly animated by the same desire to continue this unique relationship.
What is the evolution of the relations between Algeria and Vietnam since your appointment as Ambassador in Hanoi in December 2009?
The relations between Algeria and Vietnam showed a substantial growth since then. The main event was, of course, the state visit to Algeria of President Nguyen Minh Triet at the invitation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in April 2010. This visit gave a new breath to the bilateral relations. Eight bilateral agreements were signed on that occasion.
In January of that year, the President of the Algerian People's National Assembly, Abdelaziz Ziari, paid an official friendship visit to Vietnam. I recall that our two Parliaments have maintained ongoing ties since the signature of a bilateral cooperation agreement between the two institutions, in 2005.
Our two countries held, in February 2011, in Algiers, the ninth session of the Joint Commission of bilateral cooperation. The participants identified a number of new cooperation projects which could be implemented in the future. Two other bilateral agreements were signed after the meeting.
In addition, several delegations have been exchanged by both parties. Thus, the Algerian Minister Delegate in charge of Cooperation and Maghreb and African Affairs, Abdelkader Messahel, came to Hanoi in the framework of the second Vietnam-Africa Forum in August 2010.
In September 2011, the Algerian Minister of Post and Communication and Information Technologies, Moussa Benhamadi, conducted a working visit to Vietnam. A new agreement was signed on that occasion.
Could you say about the specific results of trade and investment exchange between Vietnam and Algeria and your expectations for the coming period?
The amount of the global trade between Algeria and Vietnam does certainly not reflect the possibilities that can be exploited on both sides.
Geographical distance is, it is true, a real constraint. There are, however, a common will to work towards the development of our trade exchanges. This commitment is shown, as well, through the mutual participation to international fairs and exhibitions organized by the two countries. In this context, Algeria will participate this year again in an international fair which will be held in Ho Chi Minh City from October 30 to November 3.
It is common knowledge that Algeria is a major oil and gas exporter. But Algeria exports, also, a wide variety of other products. It contains in its subsoil deposits of natural resources such as phosphates, zinc, iron and uranium. It also exports products, the great quality of which is recognized worldwide, such as dates and wines.
The development of non-hydrocarbon exports benefits from incentives and facilitation measures which exist in the gateway of Algerian Agency for Export (ALGEX). It is possible to access to this gateway through the website of the Algerian Embassy in Hanoi (http://www.ambalgvn.org.vn).
Regarding investment, the Algerian company Sonatrach and the PetroVietnam Group lead together a cooperation project within the framework of an agreement for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the region of Touggourt in Algeria, concluded in 2002. Another agreement, more recent, came to strengthen bilateral cooperation in this field. It was signed, in August 2011, between Sonatrach (Algeria), PetroVietnam (Vietnam), PTTEP (Thailand) and the Japanese JGC Corporation. It focuses on the realization of oil processing facilities and pipelines as well as an industrial base on the field of Bir Sbaa (Touggourt).
I recall that investments in Algeria benefit from an attractive legislative framework which can be consulted on the website of the Embassy.
In what fields do you think Vietnam and Algeria should expand economic cooperation in the time to come?
The economic cooperation fields between Algeria and Vietnam are as numerous as varied. Our two countries possess, in fact, significant capabilities in different sectors. They are furthermore engaged in major economic development programs.
For its part, Algeria is carrying out a public investment program for the period 2010-2014, with an amount of 286 billion dollars. This program aims to give a new breath to the modernization of our country, to promote the national capacities of development and to diversify our economy.
We therefore observe in Algeria, a significant dynamic of development that opens up opportunities to the realization of projects in a mutually beneficial partnership with foreign companies including the friendly Vietnam.
Furthermore, Algeria, being the largest country of the African continent, has a strategic position between Europe and Africa. This closeness to the two continents is likely to valorize projects targeting foreign markets./.