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Russia’s FM Lavrov visits Algeria as EU steps up push for alternative gas

Published: Updated:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited gas-producing ally Algeria for talks Tuesday as a European drive to secure alternative supplies gathers pace.

Lavrov, who arrived in Algiers late Monday, was due to hold talks with both Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra and President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algerian reports said.

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His visit is the first since January 2019 and comes as the two countries mark the 60th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic relations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held telephone talks with his Algerian counterpart last month on “coordination within OPEC+ as well the situation in Ukraine,” Russia’s TASS news agency said.

OPEC+ is a forum that brings together the OPEC oil cartel with allied producers led by Russia in managing output and prices.

Algeria is a major gas supplier to Europe, providing 11 percent of its imports, compared with 47 percent for Russia.

Italy, Spain and other European Union member countries have looked to Algeria as they have sought to cut their dependence on Russian oil and gas since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

But industry experts say Algeria lacks the infrastructure and spare capacity to raise gas exports to replace Russian supplies in the short term, something the government has stressed repeatedly as it seeks to avoid offending its longtime ally.

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