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26.02.2008
WWW.COMMERSANT.COM

Algerians Trade Wings for Rails.

Russian Railways win was at least partially helped along by the return by Algeria of 15 MiG planes delivered to that country. The railroad's $300-million deal is incomparable with the $1.286-billion contract for the planes, but Algeria plans to spend $7 billion on its railroads in the next few years.

The railroad contract will be signed at the end of March. It envisages the dismantling of 58.5 km. of rail line, the installation of about 95 km. of rail, the building or refurbishing 34 crossings and bridges and electrification. Negotiations began on the contract in 2006. Another 28 companies from Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Spain and China took part in the tender.

A source in the Ministry of Industry and Energy of Russia told Kommersant that Russian Railway's winning of the tender was a condition for the return of the planes. A source in the Federal Committee on Military-Technical Cooperation said that the planes had to be returned so that Algeria could show France and the United States that it was not too closely ties to Russia – considering the two countries' cooperation in oil and natural gas as well.