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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 15:49 GMT
France and Algeria sign contracts
Nicolas Sarkozy (left) with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 4 Dec 07
The two presidents met in Algiers
Algeria and France have signed contracts worth several billion euros during a visit to Algeria by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The deals include oil, gas and nuclear energy projects.

They come on the second day of a visit that has been overshadowed by tensions over France's role as a colonial power.

In a speech on Monday Mr Sarkozy said colonial rule had been "profoundly unjust", but resisted calls by many Algerians for France to apologise.

On Tuesday Algerian Foreign Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said the statement had not gone far enough but called it a "step in the right direction".

France invaded Algeria in 1830. An eight-year war of independence in the 1950s and 1960s cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

'Jewish lobby'

The second day of the visit was dominated by a series of big business deals.

The French oil group Total said it would invest 1bn euros (751m) in a petrochemical complex at Arzew, in western Algeria.

Gaz de France (GDF) concluded an agreement with Algeria's Sonatrach group to extend its contracts to supply liquefied natural gas - which are worth about 2.5bn euros annually, GDF said.

The engineering group Alstom agreed to invest 800m euros into a consortium for a gas-power plant.

Ahead of the visit, a minister in Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's government attacked Mr Sarkozy, saying he had been elected thanks to the "Jewish lobby" - alluding to the Jewish origins of his maternal grandfather.

Mr Bouteflika later said those comments did not reflect the official position.

SEE ALSO
Algeria dampens down France row
29 Nov 07 |  Europe
Sarkozy talks unity in N Africa
11 Jul 07 |  Europe
Colonial abuses haunt France
16 May 05 |  Europe

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