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Raeisi in Algeria in first visit of Iranian president in 14 years

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi (C) arrives in the Algerian capital of Algiers on March 2, 2024. (Photo by

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi has arrived in the Algerian capital to take part in a meeting of the world’s leading natural gas producers and to enhance the Islamic Republic’s cooperation with regional and international alliances.

Heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, Raeisi departed Tehran for Algiers in the early hours of Saturday to attend the 7th meeting of the leaders of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

During the visit, which comes at the official invitation of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the Iranian chief executive is scheduled to meet with other top officials from the 19-member gathering of the world’s leading natural gas producers.

The two presidents are also set to sign several memoranda of understanding on the sidelines of the international meeting.

Raeisi’s trip marks the fourth visit of Iranian presidents to the North African country, which took place with a gap of about 14 years after former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit in 2010.

The GECF, which is comprised of 13 permanent members and seven observers, was established in 2008 based on an initial proposal by Iran as one of the world’s largest holders of natural gas reserves.

Raeisi’s trip comes on the backdrop of Iran’s efforts to boost relations with countries in North Africa, including Sudan, with which Iran had strained relations in recent years, and with Egypt, a country that has had no diplomatic relations with Iran since 1979.

‘Iran can become regional hub for gas export’

Speaking to reporters before his departure, Raeisi stressed that Iran, as one of the largest producers and exporters of gas, and thanks to its extensive connections with the countries of the Persian Gulf region and Central Asia, can become a “regional hub” for gas production and export.

“This capacity should be introduced to the world in order to provide the basis for strengthening Iran’s interaction with other gas-producing and exporting countries,” he added.

Pointing to his upcoming meetings with Tebboune and the visit to the African country after 14 years, the Iranian president said, “In the eyes of our people, Algeria is a country that has fought colonialism and Iranian people have very good memories of the Algerian nation’s steadfastness and resistance against colonizers.”

Touching on Algeria’s position in North Africa and the Islamic world, Raeisi said Algeria has a privileged position in the African continent and strengthening the bilateral relations can effectively help to improve the level of Iran’s relations with African countries, especially the countries in the north of the continent.

“Africa in general and the Islamic countries of this continent in particular have a privileged position in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and I hope that this trip can play a significant role in strengthening the relations between West Asia and North Africa,” he said.

Referring to the important role of the two countries in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), OPEC and the GECF, Raeisi said, “The active role of Iran and Algeria in regional organizations and the Islamic world has brought us closer to each other.”

The Iranian president added that the need to counter unilateralism, which is emphasized by Iran and Algeria as well as many other independent countries of the world, and also their common views in supporting the rights of the oppressed Palestinians in Gaza are among the factors that have led to the proximity of Tehran and Algeria to each other.

Raeisi stressed that supporting the rights of Palestinians in Gaza as a main issue in the Muslim world and the international community will also be discussed in the bilateral meeting between the presidents of Iran and Algeria.

Describing the Algerian and Iranian markets as a good opportunity for their businessmen, Raeisi added, “In the meeting with the president of the friendly and brotherly country of Algeria, the important issue of strengthening relations and the cooperation between the two countries in the field of oil, gas and petrochemicals, in which both countries have good capacities, will also be discussed.”

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