Sergei Lavrov, head of Russian diplomacy, is in Algeria

Algeria is increasingly called upon by Europe, which wishes to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

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The head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, is paying a visit to Algeria, a key ally of Moscow and gas exporter increasingly in demand by a Europe seeking to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. Arriving in Algiers on Monday May 9, Sergueï Lavrov met on Tuesday with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra, before being received by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, according to media reports. This visit, Segrei Lavrov’s first to Algeria since January 2019, coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Algeria.

On the diplomatic level, everything is in good shape between the two countries. Algeria, like many African countries, has always refused to condemn Russia for the war in Ukraine. At the beginning of April, she voted against the decision to suspend the Russian Federation from the Human Rights Council. On April 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone with Mr. Tebboune to discuss in particular “coordination within OPEC+, as well as the situation in Ukraine”, according to the official Russian agency TASS. Algeria, a leading gas exporter, supplies around 11% of the gas consumed in Europe, compared to 47% for Russia.

Several countries seeking to reduce their dependence on Russian deliveries since the invasion of Ukraine have turned to Algeria, otherwise an ally of Moscow, but Algiers has only very limited capacity to increase its exports. In an apparent concern not to alienate Moscow, Algeria also repeats that its additional export capacities to Europe are too limited to replace Russian gas. Spain is in fact linked to Algeria by a 750 kilometer underwater gas pipeline, the Medgaz, as well as by a second pipeline, the GME, decommissioned in the fall by Algiers against the backdrop of the diplomatic crisis with the Morocco but which has not, however, been dismantled.

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