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Algeria and the United States last week (14 August) ratified a second agreement to cooperate in science and technology.

The agreement — extending over the next five years — is intended to pave the way toward scientific cooperation in several areas between US and Algerian institutes and scientists.

The fields targeted are seismology and applied research into earthquake-resistant engineering, industrial research, agriculture, energy, space, health, Internet communication technology, environment and biodiversity protection, water resources management and marine research.

The two countries will exchange expertise and training sessions, as well as organise scientific forums and joint research projects between the public and private sectors in both the Algeria and the United States.

The agreement also calls for enhanced cooperation between Maghreb countries — Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia — though experts from other countries are invited to participate.

This is the second agreement in the 'Algeria-US Science and Technology Cooperation Convention', signed in January 2006 by Algerian higher education and scientific research minister Rachid Hraoubia, and Paula Dobriansky, US under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs.

The first result of the convention occurred in June this year: an agreement to cooperate in the civil use of nuclear energy and nuclear waste management, as well as environment control and electricity generation.

Algerian energy and mines minister, Chakib Khelil, described the June agreement as a "historical moment" and a good start for permanent bilateral cooperation between Algeria and the United States in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, reported the Algerian Press Service.

Abdel-Karim Allan, an environmental science expert at the Algerian Environment Ministry, told SciDev.Net that the agreements would contribute to the development of technologies to preserve Algeria's environment.

"We expect that Algeria will acquire considerable experience in the field of waste recycling to protect our environment from pollution and preserve the rich biodiversity that Algeria enjoys," he said.