Algeria backs UN-led counter terrorism

Algerian officials on Monday stressed after meeting the visiting U.S. assistant secretary that any counter-terrorism operation should be within a UN framework, in light of U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) in Libya on Friday which killed more than 40, according to APS news agency.


Abdelkader Messahel, Algerian Minister for Maghreb Affairs, African Union and Arab League, cleared his positions after meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon.


On Friday, the United States carried out airstrikes in Libya against IS training camps, killing some 40 people, according to local media reports.

Algeria is highly concerned and worried that such strikes would be an introduction to a foreign military intervention in which Libya’s rebel groups would be forced to change their positions by sneaking to Algerian territories.

Messahel said Algeria supports the UN-led political process on Libya, urging for establishing a national unity government based in Tripoli.

He warned the absence of a quick and thorough settlement for the crisis in Libya would affect the security and stability of the entire region.

On Sunday, Shannon was received by Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra. The top Algerian diplomat noted that any military intervention or anti-terror operation in Libya should be carried out within the framework of the international legitimacy.

Observers said Shannon’s visit to Algiers aims at persuading Algeria to join the foreign military intervention in Libya.

Yet, Algeria is working closely with neighbors in a bid to avoid any foreign military intervention by encouraging Libyan warring parties to stick to the political process.

Algeria has been reinforcing military presence on the 1,000-km borderline with Libya. Security has been beefed up around oil and gas plants against any potential terror attack similar to that of 2013 at In-Amenas gas plant, near Libyan border, which left more than 30 foreign workers dead.

Libya has been suffering a security vacuum with increased dominance of extremists since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country has been plagued with escalating violence and political division.

Source: Xinhua, February 23, 2016

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