Viet Nam News spoke with Algerian Ambassador Cherif Chikhi on the occasion of his country's National Day today.
How do Algerians usually celebrate their national day?
The Algerian people began their struggle for national liberation on November 1, 1954. During the struggle they made incommensurable sacrifices to snatch independence seven and a half years later. Therefore the commemoration of this event is, first of all, a tribute to the memory of all the martyrs who gave their lives for the independence of Algeria.
Algerian Ambassador to Viet Nam Cherif Chikhi
Many ceremonies are being held throughout the country to express gratitude to these heroes who triumphed over injustice and led Algeria to recover its sovereignty and live in peace.
The official remembrance ceremonies are organised at the Sanctuary of Martyrs where the Head of the State will lay a bouquet of flowers before a reading of the Fatiha of the Holy Quran.
Various artistic activities are also being organised on this occasion in a warm and friendly atmosphere, marking the joy and pride of the Algerians. At night, fireworks will light up our capital, Algiers. Exhibitions and conferences about the Algerian War will also be hosted in different regions of the country.
By bowing to the memory of our martyrs, the Algerians prove the love they have for their country and their eagerness to continuously work for its development.
On this historic day I would like to present my best wishes of happiness and prosperity to all of my compatriots in Viet Nam.
This is your first year as ambassador to Viet Nam, what do you expect to achieve during your term?
Today I am greatly pleased to notice that the relations between Algeria and Viet Nam have experienced significant developments since my arrival in Ha Noi at the end of December 2009. In particular I'd like to note:
· President Nguyen Minh Triet's State visit to Algeria at the invitation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in April 2010;
· Algerian People's National Assembly President M Abdelaziz Ziari's official and friendship visit to Viet Nam in January 2010;
· Algerian Minister and Delegate in Charge of the Maghreb and African Affairs M Abdelkader Messahel's visit to Ha Noi during the Viet Nam-Africa Forum, in August 2010;
· The visit to Algeria by an Economic Affairs Committee delegation of the Viet Nam National Assembly led by its Chairman, Mr Ha Van Hien, in December 2009.
More recently, a high-level delegation of the Wilayate (Governorate) of Algiers came to Ha Noi to share the joy of our Vietnamese friends on the occasion of the Millennium celebration of this beautiful capital.
During President Triet's visit, Algeria and Viet Nam signed eight co-operation agreements and a memorandum of understanding in various fields. Our two countries also discussed new projects of co-operation and exchange in the fields of agriculture, construction, energy, industry and aquaculture.
In terms of trade, bilateral exchanges may experience increased development through participation in major trade shows held annually on both sides. In 2010, Viet Nam took part in the 43rd International Fair of Algiers, held in June, and Algeria will participate in the International Fair of HCM City, scheduled for December.
We are currently working to organise the ninth session of the Joint Commission on bilateral co-operation which will be held soon in Algiers. This new event will give further breath to our co-operation relations and pave the way to new projects for the mutual benefit of our two friendly peoples. There is no need to recall that our two countries possess significant resources and have great potential to provide fruitful partnership opportunities to our companies.
Alger Makamelchahid in the shape of three standing palm leaves is an iconic concrete monument commemorating the Algerian war for independence. — VNS File Photo
We are also examining together the preparation of new visits on both sides in order to strengthen our ties of our unblemished friendship.
Algeria actively participated in the second Viet Nam-Africa Forum which was held in August. How did the forum help promote Viet Nam and Algeria's potential co-operation?
The organisation of this forum illustrated once again the strong ties of friendship and solidarity between the African countries and Viet Nam. It confirmed, as well, the willingness of both parties to work towards an increased strengthening of their economic and trade relations, thereby giving meaning to the South-South co-operation.
I would like to reiterate that Algeria, which participated in the forum for the second time, was represented by an important delegation headed by the Minister Delegate of the Maghreb and African Affairs. On that occasion, our two countries reaffirmed their common desire to develop their co-operation for the mutual benefit of the friendly Algerian and Vietnamese peoples.
It was proceeded by an exchange of useful information on the economic potential in both countries and the potential for bilateral co-operation. The dynamics of development and modernisation undertaken in both countries are likely to further motivate these companies to seek successful partnership opportunities.
Many Vietnamese scholars who traveled and worked in Algeria in the 80s as part of an exchange programme still hold the country fondly in their hearts. How were they received in your country both then and now?
The historic ties of friendship forged by Algeria and Viet Nam naturally inspired a shared desire to work on developing co-operation relations after the recovery of sovereignty in both countries. Thus, a bilateral agreement, signed in 1980, allowed Viet Nam to send a large number of Vietnamese doctors to Algeria, all of whom have been much appreciated for their quality work and dedication. These medical practitioners have returned to Viet Nam where I meet some of them from time to time. Today some are members of the Viet Nam-Algeria Friendship Association. They often recall the memories of their stay in Algeria with great enthusiasm. Their membership in this association expresses their willingness to continue to contribute to bringing our two countries closer.
Today, many Vietnamese continue to travel to Algeria within the framework of major projects, particularly in the fields of energy and public works.
Regarding the energy sector, the companies of both countries, Sonatrach and PetroVietnam, have been working together since 2002 under a contract for the exploration and production of oil in the region of Touggourt, in southern Algeria. Vietnamese technicians and executives are in this region preparing for the production phase.
Hundreds of Vietnamese workers are also in Algeria for the great East-West Highway project which stretches over 1,000km. The realisation of this road is part of the development and modernisation of Algerian infrastructure which benefits from significant investment under the 2010-14 Five Year plan which has an overall budget equivalent to US$286 billion. The other part of the Plan which is also benefiting from this largest investment concerns human development.
I would like to reiterate that the plan's main purpose is the durable strengthening of the nation's capacity for development and the diversification of our economy. — VNS