Algeria–Libya relations

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Algeria-Libya relations
Map indicating locations of Algeria and Libya

Algeria

Libya

Algeria–Libya relations are longstanding between the two neighbouring North African Maghreb states, although they are considerably strained by tensions between the revolutionary National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya, and the single-party autocracy of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria. Bilateral relations were generally amicable during Muammar Gaddafi's 41-year rule of Libya.[1]

Strong Libyan support for the Polisario Front in the Western Sahara until 1984, and similarly hardline positions on colonialism and Israel, facilitated 1970s Algerian relations with Libya. Libyan inclinations for full-scale political union, however, have obstructed formal political collaboration, because Algeria has consistently backed away from such cooperation with its unpredictable neighbour. The Treaty of Oujda between Libya and Morocco, which represented a response to Algeria's Treaty of Fraternity and Concord with Tunisia, temporarily aggravated Algerian-Libyan relations by establishing a political divide in the region--Libya and Morocco on one side; Algeria, Tunisia, and Mauritania on the other side. [1]

In 1988, Libya was invited to participate in the Inter-Maghrib commission that was responsible for developing the North African Union. The establishment of the UMA in February 1989 marked the first formal political or economic collaboration between the two neighbours.[1]

Libyan Revolution[edit]

During the Libyan Civil War, the anti-Gaddafi National Transitional Council (NTC) of Libya accused Algeria of supporting Gaddafi by allowing him to traffic military equipment and foreign fighters through Algerian territory.[2][3]

On 8 May, Sadek Bouguetaya, a parliamentary leader and member of the Central Committee of the ruling FLN party, expressed Algeria's unconditional support for Gaddafi while addressing Gaddafi's meeting of Libyan tribes in Tripoli.[4] Later he explained during an interview to the Algerian newspaper Ech-Chourouk that his visit to Libya was for humanitarian purposes and that he was charged with this mission by Abdelaziz Belkhadem, the Secretary-General of the FLN and Minister.[5]

In early June 2011, the NTC began to soften its rhetoric. Ghoga, the NTC's vice chairman, agreed to an interview with Algerian daily Echorouk in which he said, "The Algerian and Libyan peoples are brothers. We are confident that our relations will be stronger in the coming days. We don't want to engage in conflicts with other countries especially with a brotherly country like Algeria. We also wish to see Algeria extend its support for the NTC very shortly."[6]

Despite Ghoga's efforts to mend relations with Algeria, two and a half months later, opposition fighters stormed the Algerian Embassy in Tripoli during Operation Mermaid Dawn, looting and vandalising the building. It was unclear whether the vandals had orders to target the embassy. Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci complained to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon over the incident.[7] On 24 August, the Algerian Foreign Ministry again denied the allegations Algiers had offered support to Gaddafi during the war and demanded that the NTC recant on its previous accusations as a condition for the Algerian government to recognise the council.[8]

However, when it emerged that Algeria was allegedly sheltering Gaddafi after he had fled following the NTC takeover of Tripoli, the NTC took a much harsher tone. On 29 August, it said that Algeria sheltering Gaddafi or his family members would be viewed as an "act of aggression".[9] In response, Libyan security forces closed the border with Algeria to prevent any more illicit crossings.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Entelis, John P. with Lisa Arone. "The Maghrib". Algeria: a country study Archived January 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (December 1993). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ Al Baik, Duraid (4 March 2011). "Rebel council calls on UN to hit mercenary bases". Gulfnews. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Algeria predicts tense ties with Libyan rebels". Al-Alam News Network. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Algeria's 'one-eyed' American general - Briefings - Al Jazeera English
  5. ^ (French) http://www.echoroukonline.com/fra/international/9099-participation-du-fln-%C3%A0-la-rencontre-des-tribus-libyennes-%3A-bouguetaya-s%E2%80%99explique.html
  6. ^ "Libyan National Transition Council: "Algeria is a brotherly country"". Echorouk Online. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Algerian Embassy In Tripoli Target Of series Of Violations". Bernama. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Walid Ramzi (24 August 2011). "Algeria to open relations with Libya transitional council". Magharebia. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Rebels to seek return of Gaddafi family from Algeria". Reuters. 29 August 2011.