Algeria and Libya rebels meet to ease row: report

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 29, 2011 10:30 AM

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci has held talks with a top Libyan rebel official, the highest-level contact in months of fraught relations between Libya's new leadership and their Algerian neighbours.

Algeria is the only one of Libya's North African neighbours which has yet to recognize the National Transitional Council, Libya's de facto government after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

Medelci met Mahmoud Jibril, the head of the NTC's rebel executive committee, on the sidelines of an Arab League meeting in Cairo, Algeria's state APS agency said on Monday.

It quoted Algerian Foreign Ministry spokesman Amar Belani as saying the meeting had been initiated by Jibril.

Libyan rebel officials have previously accused Algeria of backing Gaddafi, an allegation Algeria has denied.

A government source in Algeria had told Reuters last week that it would not yet grant recognition to the NTC, and that it wanted to be certain that Libya's rulers were engaged in fighting al Qaeda's North African wing.

Algeria's Foreign Ministry denied on Friday that it was linking its recognition of the NTC to a commitment from the council to crack down on Islamist militants.

(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi and Marie-Louise Gumuchian)