Relations between Italy and Algeria 'strategic', PM Renzi

Lucchini sold to Cevital, 'Algerian businesses welcome''

02 December, 16:55

    (ANSAmed) - ALGIERS, DECEMBER 2 - Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, in the Algerian capital on Tuesday for institutional and economic meetings, stressed that relations between the two countries are ''very important and strategic''.

    Renzi noted that it was the fourth time that a representative from his government had visited the country since being sworn in earlier this year. The Italian prime minister was speaking at a press conference after meeting with his Algerian counterpart, Abdemalek Sellal.

    ''The Mediterranean,'' Renzi said, ''constitutes the heart of relations between Europe and Africa and between Africa and Italy. After years of lessened interest, we are now working determinedly for the future of geopolitical economic relations and cooperation, and I share the observation made by Prime Minister Dellal that Europe is looking more intensely at Africa and especially North Africa.'' He added that political and strategic reasons linked Italy with Algeria, as did ones related to the struggle against terrorism. In addition to meeting with Prime Minister Sellal and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Renzi met in Algiers with several local businessmen, including the chairman of Cevital, an Algerian food manufacturer that will be acquiring the Piombino complex from Italian steelmaker Lucchini. The authorization for the acquisition was granted on Tuesday by the Italian economic development ministry, which noted that the transaction calls for investment of about 400 million euros and expects to rehire all employees when fully operational. Cevital will immediately hire 1,860 workers. ''There has been progress. We are waiting for the last official steps and we are ready to welcome Algerian businessmen to Italy,'' Renzi said during the press conference. ''It is an important proposal that will mark a significant step forward in relations between the two countries.'' The prime minister insisted on the need for ''new investment in the Mediterranean. Not only in more traditional sectors like energy, but also in ones like agriculture and tourism.'' In the future, he noted, ''the energy issue will be one of between the north and the south, and this confirms the importance of relations between the European Union and Africa and between Italy and Africa.'' (ANSAmed).

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