Russian wireless operator Vimpelcom settled a long-running dispute with the Algerian government last Friday by agreeing to sell a majority stake in Orascom Telecom Algeria to the Algerian National Investment Fund (ANIF) for U.S. $2.6 billion. Furthering its ambition to expand beyond Russia, Vimpelcom—which now ranks among the world’s top ten wireless carriers by subscribers—acquired Orascom in 2011 as part of a $6 billion deal encompassing the Italian, Asian and Algerian wireless assets of Egyptian tycoon Nabuib Sawiris. The Algerian government, however, fought against the sale of Orascom (known in Algeria as “Djezzy”) in the midst of its effort to nationalize the mobile operator. Since Vimpelcom assumed control of Djezzy, the government has subjected Djezzy to back tax claims and restrictions on imports and foreign exchange transactions that have prevented Vimpelcom from importing the equipment needed to upgrade the Djezzy network for third-generation wireless services. Described by Vimpelcom CEO Jo Lunder as “a milestone,” the settlement gives ANIF a 51% economic stake in Djezzy, although Vimpelcom’s Global Telecom Holding (GTH) subsidiary will continue to retain operational control of Djezzy with a 49% stake. Vimpelcom will also receive $1.9 billion in dividends from Djezzy at closing that will enable the Russian carrier to release more than $4 billion in cash proceeds to pay down its current debt load of $27.5 billion. Djezzy will also pay $1.3 billion in fines to the Algerian government to lift restrictions on foreign imports and exchanges. The agreement also gives Vimpelcom the option of selling its remaining Djezzy stake to ANIF on the seventh anniversary of the deal’s completion. Characterizing the pact as a justification of his company’s international ambitions, Lunder told reporters: “we don’t see selling 51% of Djezzy as an asset sale—we see it as bringing in a local partner.”