Questions on Algerian “deal”

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The French ADIT research agency is questioning whether Algeria has concluded a deal to buy FREMM frigates and AgustaWestland helicopters from Italy.
In its latest newsletter the agency notes that various media articles last week indicated that Algeria had decided to increase its cooperation with Italy in the defence field by deciding to purchase six FREMM frigates along with around 100 AgustaWestland helicopters in a deal worth at least €4 billion.
Air Force Monthly first reported the putative deal last week, saying Algeria had signed the helicopter contract in June.
The Defence Industry Daily carried a similar report, quoting the London-based Arab-language Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper and giving an initial delivery date in 2011.
It will reportedly replace a similar, equally unconfirmed arrangement with France that made the rounds after French President Nicolas Sarkozy`s December 2007 visit there. Media reports then suggested Algeria was to purchase up to four French FREMM frigates.
The acquisition has been long in coming, Armada International, the Swiss multilingual defence publication describing it as a done deal in October 2007, saying the “Algerian National Navy has followed Morocco as an export customer for the FREMM… The Algerian vessels will be constructed locally at the Mers-el-Kebir port in northwest Algeria”.
Nothing has seemingly reported on the deal since. ADIT now questions the reports regarding an Italian deal. 
It notes that neither Algeria nor Italy has announced such deal: “AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica refused to confirm anything, while Fincantieri even denied the deal. Most observers we got in touch with consider that no deal has been signed yet, be it as regards helicopters or frigates.”
Similar reports swirled about earlier this year regarding Angola. 
French news agency AFP in February reported in the run up to a visit to Germany by Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos that he would, while there, sign a US$800 million deal to buy three vessels.
AFP quoted the normally reliable Catholic Church broadcaster Radio Ecclesia as its source.
A subsequent report – in German – on Dos Santos meeting Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that the Bremen-based Lürssen Werft had made Angola an offer for corvettes and “patrol boats”.
No deal was however signed.
The Ports & Ships Maritime News website in March reported about the same visit that Dos Santos would sign a similar deal with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
The report gave various values for such a deal, which it said included one corvette and three offshore patrol vessels.
Nothing further has been reported on the matter. 

Pic: FREMM frigates

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