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Cablegate: Title Iii of the Libertad Act: Algeria

VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAS #1049/01 3291311
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251311Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8155
INFO RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS ALGIERS 001049

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CCA JHILLSMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ETTC PREL CU AG
SUBJECT: TITLE III OF THE LIBERTAD ACT: ALGERIA

1. (U) Summary: Algeria does nothing to promote democracy and
human rights in Cuba, or to help Cuban civil society.
Algeria's commercial relationship with Cuba is focused on
health care, pharmaceutical production, and energy. End
summary.

Democracy, Human Rights, Civil Society
--------------------------------------

2. (U) Algeria has done nothing to promote the advancement of
human rights in Cuba. It has made no statements nor
supported any UN resolutions condemning human rights abuses
in Cuba, nor undertaken any action in support of Cuban civil
society. This stance stems from Algeria's close relationship
with Cuba, which dates from the early days of Algeria's
independence.

Algerian/Cuban Diplomatic Engagement
------------------------------------

3. (U) Raul Castro made a three-day state visit to Algeria in
February, at the conclusion of which he and President
Bouteflika stated that relations between the two countries
were "clear and satisfactory." Discussions focused primarily
on bilateral efforts in the medical and agriculture sectors.

4. (U) President Bouteflika met with Raul Castro again in
Algiers July 12-13. They discussed ongoing bilateral
cooperation and their participation in the non-aligned
movement (NAM) meetings, which took place that same week in
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The Algerian Prime Minister,
Minister-delegate of Defense and Minister of
Telecommunications also participated in Bouteflika's meeting
with Castro.

5. (U) President Bouteflika visited Cuba for three days in
late September/early October following his participation in
UNGA and the Latin America-Africa summit in Caracas,
Venezuela. He met with Raul and Fidel Castro.

Algerian Investments in Cuba
----------------------------

6. (U) Post knows of no direct Algerian investment in Cuba,
but a number of pharmaceutical agreements may have an
investment component.

Algeria/Cuba Bilateral Trade and Cooperative Agreements
--------------------------------------------- ----------

7. (U) Bouteflika's September-October Cuba visit saw the
signing of a memorandum for the facilitation of travel and
visas/residence permits for communities of the two countries,
and a consular convention. In the context of that visit,
Algerian Foreign Minister Medelci stated that bilateral
cooperation would extend to agriculture, restoration of old
housing, training in different sectors, and unspecified
Algerian refining, petrochemical, and oil exploration
projects with Cuba. Post believes that a 2001 agreement
covering the delivery of Algerian oil and oil derivatives to
Cuba in exchange for medicines, vaccines, machinery, and
sugar is still in effect.

8. (U) The principal areas of Algeria-Cuba trade and
cooperation are the health and pharmaceuticals sectors.
Algeria has a health cooperation agreement with Cuba that
covers the presence of a number of Cuban doctors in Algeria.
The two countries are expanding cooperation on production of
pharmaceuticals. A delegation from the state-owned Algerian
pharmaceutical company Saidal visited Cuba the week of
October 3 and signed three agreements. The first was between
Saidal and the Cuban companies Heber Biotec, Cimab, Vacunas
Finlay, Cenpalar, and Damler. It covers the transfer of
technologies to Algeria for the production of vaccines and
biopharmaceutical products, as well as Cuban assistance in
the construction of production facilities in Algeria. The
second was between Saidal and Quimefa and covers the
production and commercialization of generic drugs in Algeria.
The third agreement was between Saidal and Medicuba for the
sale of Algerian drugs in the Cuban market. In the context
of President Bouteflika's fall 2009 visit to Cuba, Algerian
Foreign Minister Medelci explained that health cooperation
would also focus on ophthalmology, podiatry, neurology,
general surgery, and radiotherapy.

9. (U) Cuba has already built an ophthalmology hospital in
Djelfa and is building three similar hospitals in Bechar,
el-Oued, and Ouargla (all in the South of Algeria). These
will be operational toward the end of 2009. There are plans
to build three more in Setif, Tlemcen, and Tamanrasset.
Algeria/Cuba Exchange Programs
------------------------------

10. (U) The above-mentioned health cooperation agreement
covers the presence of Cuban doctors in Algeria. A certain
number of Algerian nationals and Western Sahara refugees
resident in Algeria study in Cuba. Cuban doctors and other
advisers regularly visit Sahrawi refugee camps near the
Algerian city of Tindouf.
PEARCE

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