The relations of friendship between Algeria and Iran, marked by a shared willingnesse to embark the bilateral relations on a new dynamic: Ambassador
TEHRAN - 01 Nov. 2012.
November first marks the start in 1954 of the struggle for national liberation in Algeria which led to the independence of the country on July 5th 1962. Iran Daily conducted an interview with the North African country’s Ambassador to Tehran Sofiane Mimouni in which he commented on a wide range of issues.
The full text of the interview follows:
- Iran Daily: Since this interview is held on the occasion of the National Day of Algeria, many young readers may not be familiar with the struggle the Algerian people went through to reach its independence, I would like you to tell us how the Algerian nation made history by doing so?
Sofiane Mimouni: Algeria celebrates today the 58th Anniversary of its national day. November first marks indeed the start in 1954 of the struggle for national liberation which led to the independence of the country on july 5th 1962.
This celebration takes place at a time when the country is commemorating the 50th anniversary of its independence. This momentous occasion provides the opportunity to reflect on the past and to measure the progress accomplished so far.
The Algerian Revolution that started in 1954 is qualified by the historians as 'Exemplary Revolution', inasmuch as:
-it had achieved the liberation of the Algerian people after 132 years of colonization;
- it was an authentic popular revolution, in the sense that all Algerian social strata took part in the sacred liberation fight;
- it was the result of huge sacrifices of the Algerian people who paid a heavy price for regaining their freedom (1.5 million of martyrs).
- Finally, it inspired many African, Latin American and Asian peoples who have been engaged in similar revolutionary processes.
The main objective of the Algerian Revolution was to restore the freedom and the dignity of the Algerian people and to build a just and egalitarian State that preserves the inalienable rights of every Algerian. In the aftermath of the independence, the Algerian people were resolutely committed, under the direction of the National Liberation Front (FLN), architect of victory against French colonialism, in the challenging mission of constructing a social, strong and just State, able to respond to the countless needs and expectations of the population in different areas.
Thus, the new Algerian State has faced, in 1962, enormous challenges, inheriting, after the departure of France, a devastated country, undermined by poverty, illiteracy (85% of the population) and a completely battered economy. The different development plans that have been implemented since the 1960s up to now, contributed to the education of the Algerian people, the creation of infrastructures in all sectors, the fulfillment of a huge number of projects that led to the rise of the general standard of living of the Algerian population.
This year’s celebration comes under very promising development. Under the leadership of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria is indeed embarked upon a vast scheme of national renewal which will lead the country to modernity. It is working to deepen its democracy, to establish the rule of law and to build an efficient and performing economy. In short, it is creating the conditions for the best possible use of the country’s economic potential.
In this respect, the government launched three investment programs ($I50 billion for the period 2000-2005, $200 billion for the period 2005-2010 and $250 billion for the period 2010-2015). These programs yielded positive results with the realization of various infrastructures and socio-economic equipments and the reduction of the deficit in housing with the realization of one million housing units every five years. The efforts undertaken in order to re-launch the economy have borne results described as positive by foreign partners as well as international organizations and financial institutions.
Indeed, today the economy is growing, the budget is in surplus, the inflation rate stands at reasonable levels (5 %), foreign currency reserves had reached $188 billion and the foreign debt which reached $36 billion in 2000 has been settled. The IMF expects Algeria's economic growth to reach 3.1 percent this year and 3.4 percent in 2013 and considers that the economic outlook of Algeria is expected to continue to be good.
That is to say that the celebration of our national day takes place, this year, at a time when the country is at the centre of a new vision. Thanks to the strategy of President Bouteflika, Algeria has regained its stability, restored its audience and confidence in the future is today stronger than yesterday.
- As Ambassador of Algeria how do you find the relations between Iran and Algeria?
The relations between Algeria and Iran have developed in recent years, in a climate of trust, mutual respect and balance of interests reflecting the political will of the two countries to take profit of their economic potentialities and complementarities.
At the instigation of President Bouteflika and President Ahmadinejad, the relations of friendship between the two countries have been marked in the course of these last years by a shared willingness to embark the bilateral relations on a new dynamic. This dynamic was reflected through the regular high level consultations between the two Presidents and high officials of the two countries on bilateral as well as multilateral issues.
It was also reflected through the visit that Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi paid to Algeria on February 2011 and the holding in Tehran, on November 2010, of the first session of the High Joint Commission. These visits and meetings have illustrated the desire of the two countries to start a new phase marked by a mutual resolve to reinforce and develop the bilateral relations by exploiting all the opportunities in order to strengthen the political, economic, scientific and cultural relations.
In the political field, a tradition of dialogue and consultation has been established at the highest level between the two countries, as evidenced by the regular consultations between Presidents Bouteflika and Ahmadinejad, during international meetings, conferences and summits. There is also a suitable mechanism for regular political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries.
- What about the economic relations between the two countries?
With regard to the economic field, several sessions of the Joint Commission were held since 2002, reflecting the common will of the two countries to evaluate the potential of the bilateral cooperation. Thus, the two countries succeeded in establishing a legal framework for the cooperation with the conclusion of more than forty agreements, memorandums of understanding and cooperation programs that offer today better prospects of economic cooperation and trade exchanges.
Furthermore, Iranian companies which show great interest in the Algerian market are now present in Algeria and doing business with their Algerian counterparts.
The opening in Algeria of a commercial representation of Khodro, the realization by Iranian companies of house units and the recent signing of a contract between Sonatrach and Iranian Nastaran Electric (electrical equipment installation), prove that the relations between Algeria and Iran are expanding and reaching a high level.
The economic cooperation which was virtually at an embryonic level is now developing gradually.
The holding in Tehran, in November 2010, of the first session of the High Joint Commission, presided by the Prime-Minister of Algeria and the First Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, provided a positive assessment of the two countries' bilateral relations and succeeded in identifying new areas to strengthen the cooperation and diversify the economic exchanges.
The common objective of both countries is now to provide a more substantial economic cooperation. Algeria and Iran are today preparing the 2nd session of the High Joint Commission which is planned to take place in Algiers in 2013 and will be devoted to promoting partnership between both countries.
Culture is also an important part of the bilateral cooperation as it is the preferred vehicle of the community and the understanding between the Algerian and the Iranian peoples. In this respect, a week of handicrafts of the province of Isfahan was held in Algiers in February 2008 and, in February 2012, Tehran hosted a week of the Algerian handicrafts. Iran, for its part, will hold a week of the Iranian craft in Algeria from 04 to 13 November 2012.
This indicates that the executive program of cultural exchanges linking the two countries is implemented and proves favorable for the development of the exchange activities between the two peoples.
It means also that the Algerian-Iranian cooperation is strengthening in a continuous, global and balanced manner in order to involve all aspects of the bilateral relations.
Today, the cooperation between Algeria and Iran has great potentials and offer real and concrete prospects.
I am therefore confident in the ability of the two countries to go beyond the simple trade exchanges, to give more pace and diversity to the relations of cooperation and to show initiative aimed at building sustainable relations of which both parties would take advantage.
- What are the obstacles to relations between the two countries?
There is no obstacle hindering the relations between Algeria and Iran. In fact, there is a strong willingness of both country to foster their bilateral relations and to use all the potentialities to strengthen further their cooperation.
- Algeria has always been an effective member of the Non-Aligned Movement. In your belief, how was the Teheran Summit?
The 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held in Tehran was a successful Summit for many reasons. First, the Summit recorded an important participation of the member countries. Indeed, leaders and diplomats from over 120 nations gathered in Tehran for this important meeting. The participation of 29 Head of state and government, including Presidents, Prime minister and Monarchs, the presence of the Secretary General of the United Nations, M. Ban Ki-moon at the summit is a diplomatic victory for Iran.
Second, there was a smooth deliberation of the Summit which was marked by the absence of any controversy. From the High officials meeting to the Summit of Heads of state, all the issues on the agenda of this Summit were adopted in a constructive spirit.
Finally, beyond the adoption of the Final Document, the summit adopted also a declaration of Teheran without any objection.