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talian Premier Giorgia Meloni arrived Sunday (Jan. 22) in Algeria for a two-day visit as the two nations look to build up a strategic partnership and Italy works to further wean itself off Russian energy with help from the gas-rich North African country.

Algeria’s state television announced Meloni’s arrival with neither photos nor fanfare.

She was greeted by Prime Minister Aimene Benabderrahmane. Like all ranking visitors, Meloni’s first stop was laying a wreath at the Monument of Martyrs. The monument on a hilltop overlooking the capital commemorates Algerians who died winning the country’s independence from France in 1962.

The Italian leader also planned to visit an Italian naval ship at the port of Algiers.

Algeria has replaced Russia as Italy’s No. 1 energy supplier, and Rome is looking to boost that partnership. However, topics such as naval construction, cars and start-ups were said to be on Meloni’s agenda, a sign the two countries might deeper their cooperation.

Meloni is scheduled to meet Monday (Jan.23) with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. The two last met in November on the sidelines of a climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, the Egyptian resort town. A raft of agreements are then to be signed. It was unclear whether another energy deal was in the offing.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict, which upset global strategic and economic dynamics, gave a new and urgent dimension to ties between Algiers and Italy, long dependent on Russian energy. Other European Union nations also have scrambled to find sources of replacement for Russian energy.

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