Blinken and Attaf Discuss Bilateral and Regional Issues in Washington

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf at the Department of State on Monday, August 9, 2023. The two officials discussed ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship and cooperate on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Blinken and Attaf

Algeria’s Role in Promoting Peace and Stability in Africa

Secretary Blinken praised Algeria’s role in promoting peace and stability in Africa, especially in the Sahel and Libya. He expressed his appreciation for Algeria’s efforts to mediate between the parties in Mali and to support the UN-led political process in Libya. He also welcomed Algeria’s participation in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and its contribution to the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Attaf agreed on the need to address the root causes of insecurity and instability in the region, such as poverty, climate change, human rights violations, and lack of good governance. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together to advance democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Africa.

Algeria’s Economic and Energy Diversification Efforts

Secretary Blinken commended Algeria’s economic and energy diversification efforts and its desire to attract more U.S. businesses to Algeria. He noted that the United States is gratified to be the country of honor for Algeria’s 2022 International Trade Fair. He said that the U.S. is ready to support Algeria’s economic reforms and to enhance trade and investment ties between the two countries.

Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Attaf discussed the potential for cooperation in various sectors, such as renewable energy, agriculture, health, education, and digital economy. They also exchanged views on how to foster innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth and women in both countries.

Algeria’s Relations with Russia and Western Sahara

Secretary Blinken urged Algeria to re-think its relations with Russia, especially in light of Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and elsewhere. He expressed his concern about Algeria’s purchase of Russian weapons and its participation in joint military exercises with Russia. He said that such moves could undermine Algeria’s security and sovereignty, as well as the stability of the region.

Secretary Blinken also raised the issue of Western Sahara, which has been a source of tension between Algeria and Morocco for decades. He reiterated the U.S. position that a lasting solution to the conflict should be based on a mutually acceptable political compromise that respects the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. He encouraged Algeria to engage constructively with Morocco and the UN to achieve a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

The Strength of the U.S.-Algerian Partnership

Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Attaf reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Algerian partnership, which is founded on shared values and mutual interests. They agreed to continue their regular dialogue and consultation on bilateral, regional, and global issues. They also expressed their desire to enhance people-to-people exchanges and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

The meeting between Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Attaf was the first high-level contact between the U.S. and Algeria since President Joe Biden took office in January 2023. It reflected the importance that both sides attach to their strategic partnership and their common vision for a more prosperous, secure, and democratic future for Africa.

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