The head of Algeria’s army hosted Russia’s top security official on Monday to discuss boosting their military ties, the defense ministry in Algiers said.
General Said Chengriha said the visit of National Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev reflected both countries’ “firm desire to strengthen their historic and strategic partnership… in particular in the area of military cooperation.”
Patrushev said Russia was working to “further strengthen” their relations.
He also met Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and Tebboune is set to visit Russia in May.
This visit “represents, for us, the expression of the firm and frank willingness that animates the two countries to further strengthen the strategic and historic partnership that characterizes their bilateral relations, particularly in the field of military cooperation,” said Chanegriha.
Moscow has for decades been a major supplier of arms to Algeria, which has one of Africa’s most powerful armies.
Algeria, a major gas supplier to energy-hungry Europe, has maintained warm ties with both its European neighbors and Moscow, despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Bilateral trade between Russia and Algeria was worth $3 billion in 2021, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Last October, both countries carried out a joint military exercise in the Mediterranean Sea.
The exercise was carried out to strengthen military cooperation between the Algerian and Russian navies.
Algeria is considered one of Russia’s most important military allies on the African continent and also one of the largest customers of Russian weapons in the region. Over the last few years, Algeria has signed large arms deal with Russia for the supply of various types of armaments and equipment, especially air and ground weaponry.
For instance in late 2018, the government of Russia and Algeria floated the possibility of creating a joint venture in Algeria for the production, extension of service life and disposal of guided and unguided ammunition, said the head of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Viktor Bondarev.
The agreement led to a signing to acquire four Project 22160-class patrol ships worth a total value of $ 180 million. The agreement signed on May 14 2018, reveals that Algeria will receive the first unit from Russia in September 2018 while the rest would be delivered in the coming years.