The presidents of Nigeria and Algeria began talks on Monday, inaugurating a bilateral commission between the two leading African Opec members, officials were quoted in reports as saying.
The official Saudi News Agency (SPA) said that Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika arrived in Abuja on Sunday with a large delegation including his foreign minister. His three-day official visit had not been announced previously in Nigeria. “The bilateral commission is the basic thing and those talks are going on now,” a Nigerian foreign ministry official told Reuters.’ after that the presidents of the two countries will meet one-on-one on wider political issues.'
The bilateral talks would concentrate largely on economic cooperation, specifically on plans by Nigeria to build a trans-Saharan gas pipeline to take natural gas to European markets via Algeria, officials said.
The two countries have already signed a memorandum of understanding on the pipeline, seen as key to Nigeria’s ambition to earn as much money from gas exports in about 10 years as it currently does from crude oil.
Nigerian oil and gas experts have been holding a series of meetings on the pipeline since the New Year.
Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and Bouteflika, along with the presidents of south Africa and Senegal, have emerged as Africa’s spokesmen on debt relief for the continent. They have also been the spearhead of the new partnership for Africa’s development (NEPAD), a rescue plan signed last year at an African summit in Abuja and intended to plug the world's poorest continent into the global economic mainstream. (Albawaba.com)
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