US Ambassador to Algeria Henry Ensher said on the evening of April 30 that the US “does not want to set up military bases in Africa or in any area in Algeria.” He said that US-Algerian cooperation is based on a framework for eradicating terrorism, and that the US relies on Algeria’s experience and proven security capabilities to achieve this. Ensher went on to state that Algeria is a major partner in the Sahel region of Africa and North Africa.
In a press conference held at the Badr private school for languages, media and electronic media and following a visit to the state of Batna, the US ambassador made some remarks about the situation in Mali. “The United States does not support the idea of creating a new state or the independence of the Azawad region, and it is conducting daily talks with its partners in the region because these actions contradict international conventions,” he said.
Ensher spoke of plans to establish an American university in Algeria, similar to those which already exist in Egypt and Qatar, after the US administration got wind of the great desire among Algerian students to travel abroad to complete their studies.
On cooperation in the area of economic investment, which includes many areas such as fuel and pharmaceutical manufacturing, the ambassador stated that what had previously been said regarding the failure of arms deals between the two countries was untrue. He rather asserted that the relations between the two countries in the field of security have taken large strides in past years. The ambassador noted that Algeria was full of potential for investment, and that it was rich in various kinds of natural resources. He conceded, however, that certain procedures still stand in the way of US investments, leading US businessmen to consequently favor neighboring countries that provide a wide range of facilities.
In response to a question about the US administration’s view on the legislative elections set to take place on May 10, and on Algeria’s outlook, the US ambassador said that his country appreciates the efforts undertaken by the government, the president, the electoral commissions and various associations to actively participate in the elections. He claimed that the elections would be significant and make a difference in some aspects. He added that the United States supports those candidates who win through legitimate means, without the use of violence.
The Ambassador also asserted that strong US support for Islamic parties in these elections is not even on the US agenda. Regarding the dialogue that the US embassy recently launched with Algerian national and partisan figures — during which “some refused to meet with him” — Ensher stated that these meetings merely fall within the context of an ambassador’s regular duties.