Prime Minister Hesham Qandil arrived yesterday in Algeria for a three-day visit amidst speculative press reports over the visit’s agenda.
State-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported the objective of Qandil’s visit to Algeria is to hold talks with the Algerian government over solidifying economic relations and boosting mutual investment.
“During his visit to Algeria PM Qandil shall deliver a message of President Morsy to his Algerian counterpart, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika regarding enhancing co-operation between two countries in all fields,” Egyptian Press reported, citing MENA.
“Qandil’s visit to Algeria is the first of an Egyptian prime minister after the 25 January revolution,” Egyptian Ambassador to Algeria, Ezz El-Din Fahmy said, noting that the last visit to Algeria by an Egyptian Prime Minister was in 2008 by Ahmed Nazif, former PM under Mubarak.
Qandil was accompanied by a motley delegation of government officials; including foreign minister, ministers of petroleum, industry and foreign trade, planning and international co-operation, and housing; and a number of businessmen, MENA reported yesterday.
Reuters reported that the Egyptian government will discuss $2 billion assistance from Algeria to help Egypt overcome its current financial crisis.
The Egyptian delegation’s visit intends to encourage Algeria, one of Egypt’s biggest suppliers of butane, to assist in mitigating the looming butane crisis that threatens Egypt, Algerian and Egyptian news outlets reported, quoting an unnamed source.
Egypt imports up to 50 per cent of its butane, Ibrahim Zahran, former president of Khalda Petroleum Company, told Al-Ahram Weekly. Egyptian households rely extensively on butane for cooking, as well as restaurants, cafes and hotels.
According to Reuters two officials confirmed that the Egyptian government was seeking aid from Algeria; the two officials cannot ascertain what kind of aid the Egyptian delegation would demand.