PETALING JAYA: Algerian ambassador to Malaysia Abdelhafid Bounour and Minister Plenipotentiary Ali Saidi paid a courtesy call on theSun yesterday.

They were met by theSun editorial director Datuk Seri Azman Ujang, acting managing editor Navjeet Singh, associate editor Joshua Purushotman and business editor Annie Freeda Cruez.

During the visit, Abdelhafid briefed theSun on his country’s business and tourism potential.

“Algeria and Malaysia have always enjoyed excellent diplomatic relations since it was established in 1985. But even before then, during our struggle for independence from France in the 1960s, Malaysia raised money for us.

“So, the Malaysian people are close to our hearts, and we have always considered Malaysia a good friend and a moderate Muslim brother. Now, we are eager to strengthen our relationship even further,“ he said.

He invited Malaysians to visit Algeria as the country has many interesting tourist destinations, such as Kasbah, which is a walled area that was built on a hill over 1,000 years ago in the capital Algiers.

Abdelhafid said other tourist destinations include the great mosque of Algiers, Djamaa el Djazair, which is known for having the tallest minaret in the world.

He also said Algeria offers traditional hospitality, its Mediterranean climate in the north, and the Sahara, which covers nearly 80% of the country.

“Around June next year, our national carrier Air Algerie will fly at least twice a week to Kuala Lumpur from Algiers. The details will be announced later, but this is another good reason for Malaysians to visit Algeria and vice-versa.“

Abdelhafid, who took up his post in Malaysia six months ago, said there are some 20 Malaysians taking degrees in Islamic Studies in his country while about 600 Algerian students were studying for various degrees in Malaysia.

Navjeet told Abdelhafid theSun would be keen to carry news about Algeria and welcomes a stronger relationship with the embassy.

Azman later showed the guests around the newsroom and briefly explained its functions.

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