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Algeria says talks started with Orascom executives

ALGIERS, May 10 (Reuters) - Algerian officials are in contact with the local unit of Egyptian operator Orascom Telecom and the next step is to talk to the company's top executives, the Algerian Telecommunications Minister said. "We have direct contacts with Orascom Telecom Algeria (OTA)," Hamid Bessalah told reporters on Monday when asked about the Egyptian company's contested plan to sell its Algerian unit to South Africa's MTN. Asked if negotiations were planned with Orascom Telecom head Naguib Sawiris, he said: "We have started with OTA. Talks with high level officials will take place in the next step." (Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Dan Lalor) Keywords: ORASCOM/ALGERIA (maghreb.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com; tel: +213 21727020) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.

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