Soviet Defence Minister Andrei Grechko arrived in the Algerian capital, Algiers, on Monday (27 May) for a five-day official visit.
Soviet Defence Minister Andrei Grechko arrived in the Algerian capital, Algiers, on Monday (27 May) for a five-day official visit. This has been seen as underlining moscow's increasing interest in Algeria as a leading member of non-aligned nations.
A week ago the Chairman of the Soviet State Commission for External Trade Semyon Sakachkov, had talks in Algiers on a possible four-year trade agreement. Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko is also expected in Algiers next month.
On the first day of his visit Marshal Grechko had a lengthy meeting with President Houari Boumedienne. He also handed the Algerian President a message from Soviet Communist Party leader, Leonid Brezhnev, praising the "Positive role played by the People's Republic of Algeria within the non-aligned movement and within current international relations in general".
The Soviet leader also said the Soviet Union was "giving the utmost importance to political co-operation based on mutual trust and personal contacts with Algerian leaders at a high level".
The Soviet Union is Algeria's chief supplier of arms. There are believed to be about 6,000 Soviet experts and their families in Algeria.
President Boumedienne has visited Moscow several times and Arab sources have said the last time he was there he bought large amounts of arms for Arab countries who fought Israel in last October's conflict.