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Algeria, US to Discuss Combating Corruption and Terrorism

US and Algerian officials have launched a “strategic dialogue” in Washington to discuss issues related to combating corruption and terrorism.

In a statement, the Algerian Foreign Ministry said that its Secretary-General, Lounes Magramane, chaired with the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Middle Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, the Sixth Session of the Algerian-US Strategic Dialogue.

The meeting is set to discuss energy, higher education, emerging companies, culture, and transportation.

The statement explained that a sizeable Algerian delegation is participating in the meeting, highlighting that the discussions will include regional and international developments and cooperation in combating terrorism.

Notably, the bilateral strategic dialogue meetings usually address many other issues, including security coordination between the two governments against money laundering and drying up the sources of terrorism.

Last August, Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf held high-level meetings in Washington with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, Brett McGurk.

The meetings addressed the crises in Libya and Mali, the military coup in Niger, the repercussions of the Sahel’s problems on regional security, and jihadist groups’ ability to exploit local unrest to their advantage.

Meanwhile, Algerian Prime Minister Aymen Benabderrahmane revealed that his country had sent 259 judicial letters to 31 countries since 2020 related to freezing the assets and deposits of former figures of the former regime.

Algeria believes the 31 countries are a haven for smuggled public funds, according to the General Policy Statement of the government presented on Tuesday to Parliament by Benabderrahmane.

The Prime Minister did not mention the amounts that had been allocated.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune confirmed to the press at the end of last year that his country could recover approximately $22 billion of “stolen funds.”

Tebboune also confirmed the authorities’ efforts to recover funds outside the country smuggled illegally during the previous regime, explaining that Algeria has negotiated with the European Union regarding recovering the stolen funds.

He also said that Spain had agreed to hand over to Algeria three luxury 5-star hotels owned by a businessman in prison without naming him.

Observes believed Tebboune was referring to tycoon Ali Haddad, convicted by the courts to imprisonment on several corruption cases.

After convicting them in absentia, the Algerian judiciary issued an international arrest warrant against former Energy Minister Chakib Khelil and his wife residing in the US.

They were found guilty of squandering public funds when concluding contracts with foreign companies, including receiving bribes and commissions worth $190 million in a fuel deal between Sonatrach and Italian Saipem in 2012.

Source : Aawsat