• Short Summary

    Algerian and French Ministers are meeting in Paris to discuss the five-year-old oil treaty between the two countries.

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    Algerian and French Ministers are meeting in Paris to discuss the five-year-old oil treaty between the two countries. Algeria is demanding a radical change in the French attitude to the oil in the Sahara.

    Algeria's leader in the talks, which have been continuing for six weeks, is the Foreign Minister, M. Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The French side is led by the Minister for Industrial and Scientific Development, M. Francois Ortoli.

    The talks cover general financial arrangements between the two countries but are centred round the oil treaty under which French companies enjoy a privileged position in return for French investments in oil research and industrialisation.

    Algeria feels that France has not fulfilled her commitments and is pressing for a major increase in tax revenues. President Boumedienne has warned that present-day Algeria is not the same as in 1965 when the treaty was signed. Its oil was the inalienable property of Algeria and co-operation meant the harmonising of mutual interests.

    Earlier this month Algeria nationalised the American Mobil and Newmont oil companies and has warned that it intends to recover in full all the nation's natural resources. French firms are responsible for about two-thirds of Algeria's oil output, which last year totalled 44 million tons. The rest is in the hands of Algeria's State-owned concern.

    After the session yesterday (Monday 16 November) M. Ortoli said: "We heard a report by our experts this afternoon and requested them to make yet another investigation to clarify certain issues. We are awaiting more detailed information on technical questions."
    So far there has been little apparent progress in the talks and Algeria's Industry and Energy Minister, M. Belaid Abdessalem, has warned the French that it would be a mistake on their part to pursue a policy "as irritating in its intentions as it is ineffective in its results."

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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