Iranian, Algerian presidents meet for talks in Algiers

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held two hours of talks with his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika Saturday during a stopover in Algiers on route to New York for the UN General Assembly.

Ahmadinejad received full military honours on his arrival at Algiers airport, where he was received by Bouteflika, an AFP photographer at the scene noted.

The Algerian leader was accompanied by Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci.

The two leaders held two hours of talks at the airport’s VIP section.

According to the Algerian news agency APS, Bouteflika was accompanied by Ouyahia, Medelci and the speaker of parliament Abdelaziz Ziari; with Ahmadinejad was Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Following the talks, Ahmadinejad described relations between the two countries as “very good and in full development.”

The two leaders have met several times in the past including Ahmadinejad’s state visit to Algeria in January 2009.

Algerian press reports suggested that Algeria’s ambassador to Tehran has had talks with Iran’s Trade Minister Mehdi Qazanfari about developing trade — and even a free trade accord — between the two countries.

Iran is currently suffering under the international, UN-approved economic sanctions imposed on it because of its nuclear power programme, which critics fear could have a military component.

Ahmadinejad flew into Algiers from Syria’s Damascus airport, where he had had a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.

He is due in New York where from Monday to Wednesday and he is to attend the UN General Assembly, a forum he has used in past years to blast arch-foe Israel.