ROME: Italy and Algeria will launch joint political, economic and energy projects to be completed by the end of 2022 under an agreement signed by the two countries’ foreign ministries.
The agreement was signed in Rome by Ettore Sequi, secretary-general of Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and his Algerian counterpart, Chakib Rachid Kaid, at the end of a strategic dialogue hosted by the Italian government.
The event involved a full day of consultations and negotiations at the Farnesina Palace, the Italian foreign ministry’s headquarters, co-chaired by the two secretary-generals, and attended by 60 high-level representatives and administrators from both countries.
Political, security and economic ties were covered, along with “cooperation on the global challenges and the safeguarding of common Mediterranean goods,” the Italian foreign ministry said in a final communique.
Sequi and Rachid Kaid agreed in talks on the sidelines of the conference that Italy and Algeria “should step up high-level political consultations and strengthen political, economic and energy cooperation.”
Opening the conference, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio recalled his visit to Algeria last month to seek new energy partnerships in the wake of a gas shortage from Russia due to the crisis in Ukraine.
He said that “Italy views Algeria as a key strategic partner in all respects,” and that Rome is hoping for “a 360-degree strategic partnership to intensify political dialogue, further strengthen economic and energy cooperation, and to work together for the stability of the Mediterranean.”
Algeria is Italy’s second-largest supplier of gas after Russia. Gas imports are piped from the Hassi R’Mel field, the largest natural gas field in Africa, through Tunisia to Sicily via the TransMed pipeline.
Italian energy companies Eni, Enel and Edison have long-term contracts with Algeria, which last year shipped about 21 billion cubic meters of gas to Italy, about 20 percent of the country’s gas imports.