US Assistant Secretary of State wraps up Algeria visit; next stop: Tunisia
Following a 24-hour visit in Algeria, US Assistant Secretary of State on Monday said that closer economic and political relations would serve the interests of both countries, praising their combined power to rein in terrorist operatives.
"Over the last year, the depth and the pace of our information-sharing with regard to the struggle against terrorism has increased substantially," William Burns told journalists following his stay in Algiers.
"The United States supports ... the program of economic reforms and opening economic opportunities. It's in our mutual interest to do that," the assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs said.
Burns had met with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and backed a US-Algeria free-trade agreement and economic partnership with the three-state region, AFP reported.
Moreover, Burns said he would push US Congress to further develop military cooperation with Algeria, following a series of joint naval exercises conducted in 2001 and 2002.
In addition, he said Washington supported a "peaceful resolution" to Algeria's dispute with Rabat over Western Sahara.
Burns is due Tuesday in Tunisia for talks with President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Foreign Minister Habib Ben Yahia, the US embassy in Tunis said. (Albawaba.com)
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