European parliament urged to review deal with pro-Russia Algeria
The North Africa Post | 17th November 2022
By North Africa Post
A group of influential members of the European Parliament (MEPs) urged the head of the European Commission to review the association agreement with Algeria, a country that is about to pump 17 billion dollars into Russian coffers in arms deals that would give Moscow a financial boost.
MEPs from different groups sent a letter to EU chief Ursula Von der Leyen expressing “deep concern” at Algeria’s growing political, logistics and financial support to Moscow.
Algeria has increased its defense budget to 23 billion dollars including 17 billion dollars that are planned as part of Russian arms procurement. The North African country is currently hosting a joint military exercise with Russian troops in the area of Bechar near the Moroccan borders.
The inflow of Algerian petro-dollar into Russia will only fuel Putin’s invasion and aggression on the Ukranian people, the MEPs said in the letter.
Algeria is already among the top three buyers of Russian arms behind China and India with procurements worth 7 billion dollars in 2021.
The list of MEPs who signed the letter to denounce Algeria’s support for Putin includes European parliament groups members from EPP, Renew, SD and ID from the countries of Lithuania, Denmark, France, Finland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.
Similar calls had been made in the US congress pushing for sanctions against Algeria for its close military ties which embolden Putin’s finances.
Last September, a Congress bipartisan group sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, raising concerns over Algeria’s growing ties with Russia and calling for sanctions against officials in the Algerian regime for arms deals with Moscow.
The call by the bipartisan group, led by Congresswoman Lisa McClain, follows a similar call from Senator Marco Rubio on the Biden administration to issue sanctions against Algeria.
Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which Congress passed in 2017, sanctions are to be imposed against countries that strike defense or intelligence deals with several countries, including Russia.
“This recent Algeria-Russia arms purchase would clearly be categorized as ‘a significant transaction’ under CAATSA. Yet, no sanctions available to you have been crafted by the State Department,” stated the letter to Blinken, which is signed by 27 members of Congress.