APS : Friday, 23 February 2018
MOSCOW-In an interview to Russian TV channel “Russia Today” (RT), Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel reiterated Algeria’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts and peoples’ right to self-determination.
During this interview on the sidelines of his visit to Russia, Messahel underlined Algeria’s commitment to a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis in order to preserve the country’s sovereignty, and warned against “the consequences of foreign interference in Libya’s internal affairs which serves some agenda.”
“We support and encourage the political solution” in the country, said Messahel who also stressed that interference in Libya’s international affairs would have a negative impact on the stability of Libya and neighbouring countries.
The FM underlined the “importance of stability in this country with which we share a 1000km-border,” stressing that “our security and stability are inseparable from the security and stability of Libya.”
“Libya has a huge potential to overcome the crisis,” stressed Messahel who said that anarchy led to the instability and State institutions weakening which, combined with the absence of the army and security, opened the field to the proliferation of terrorism in Libya and in the Sahel region.
Warning against the return of foreign fighters that causes problems in Libya, Messahel recalled the link between terrorism and organized crime. He stated that there was no difference between terrorism financing and organized crime like cannabis and drug smuggling as both lead to instability in the country.
As for the danger posed by the return of foreign terrorist fighters to security in Libya’s neighbouring countries as well as international peace and security, Messahel affirmed that “each country and the United Nations have to play a role through the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) as a coordination mechanism between all countries.”
The FM underlined Algeria’s optimism about the capacity of “Libyans and Malians to reach a solution without foreign interference.”
As for Algeria’s efforts in counterterrorism, Messahel affirmed that the Algerian army limited itself to the borders of the country. However, this does not preclude that Algeria has a strong cooperation in this field,” said the FM who recalled that Algeria granted over US$100 million to neighbouring countries to train special forces in Mali, Niger and Mauritania under counterterrorism operations in Saharan regions.
The fact that Algeria is not a member of the G5 (Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso) has not precluded it from assisting the Group, in addition to its continued efforts in the fight against terrorism under the Neighboring Countries Initiative which includes the staffs of Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, based on the exchange of information and cooperation in the field of training.
In response to a question on the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), Messahel expressed Algeria’s hope to see Maghreb integration achieved through its historical, political, economic and cultural convictions, recalling that Algeria, during its AMU chairmanship in 2001, had thought of the creation of a Maghreb economic community to achieve economic integration in agriculture, the fight against desertification, infrastructure and other fields.
Regarding his visit to Russia, Messahel said it was part of the Algerian-Russian agreement inked on April 2001 on strategic partnership between the two countries.
In this connection, the minister welcomed this agreement “as it has resulted in reviving bilateral relations in the fields of military cooperation, security, politics, economy and trade, as well as parliamentary relation between the two countries.”
Besides, the FM referred to cooperation agreements between the two countries in the fields of tourism and training, especially as Russian schools and universities open their doors to Algerian executives and students, highlighting trade cooperation that will pave the way for Algerian product access to the Russian market.
Messahel also spoke about his visit to Belarus and Algeria’s willingness to revive bilateral relations with this country, through the setting up of a joint cooperation committee, and other States of the former USSR.
In response to another question about the signing by Algeria of the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) last week in Vienna, Messahel reiterated Algeria’s position in favour of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons
Recalling that Algeria was among the first countries to call for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world and sign the NPT in 1994, Messahel said “we played a role in the UN and chaired the Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2000 and 2015, and signed the Additional Protocol in February 2018.”