As part of efforts to "rejuvenate" India's ties with African nations, Vice President Hamid Ansari today met the top leadership of Algeria and discussed with them the ways to further strengthen bilateral ties in various areas including anti-terror, trade and economy. Ansari held wide ranging discussions with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra and stressed on taking the India-Algeria ties to a new level and how to "rejuvenate" the bilateral relations, officials said. Other issues like anti-terror cooperation between India and Algeria were also figured in the meetings the Vice President had with the Algerian leadership. Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry Sujata Mehta has said terrorism is not new for Algeria and it has fought a very difficult terror group in the recent past. India is also keen to join hands with Algeria to explore the possibilities of setting up a multi-billion dollar fertiliser project, bearing in mind the phosphatic reserve available in this North African country which is estimated to be more than 5 billion tonnes. A preliminary meeting on the issue was held here today between Minister of State for Fertilisers and Chemicals Mansukh L Mandaviya and Algerian Minister of Industry and Mining Abdessalem Bouchouareb. The price of fertiliser in India is expected to come down along with the subsidy burden if the talks between the two countries lead to setting up of a joint venture mega fertiliser company in Algeria. Mandaviya is accompanying the Vice President. Ansari's visit to Algeria came after a long "cooling off" period which, officials said, was over now. "They (Algeria) want cooperation and we want cooperation.
Both sides want the relations to be strengthened," Ansari had said earlier. Algeria's President Bouteflika was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in 2001. Ansari, who arrived here from Hungary on Monday night as part of his second leg of two-nation tour, yesterday met President of Algerian National People's Assembly Mohamed Larbi Ould Khelifa and President of Council of Nations Abdelkader Bensalah and discussed with them various issues concerning both the countries.
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