Thursday 20 July 2017

Egypt's Sisi arrives in Algiers on first state visit

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 12:13 -- Henri Ahyite

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived in Algiers on Wednesday for his first trip abroad since being elected in May, official media reported.

The ex-army chief was welcomed on arrival by Algerian premier Abdelmalek Sellal and Senate speaker Abdelkader Bensalah, and was due to meet President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, whose chronic health problems have severely limited his movements.

The leaders of the two North African nations will focus on ways of "promoting the brotherly relations and cooperation that exist between the two countries and on issues linked to the situation in the Arab world and Africa," the APS news agency said.

Algeria and Egypt both neighbour Libya, which has been gripped by deadly violence since the NATO-backed ouster of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

Algeria called for a "peaceful transition" in Egypt after Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted by Sisi, then head of the army, in July last year.

Sisi won a crushing majority in May's presidential poll, a month after Bouteflika was overwhelmingly re-elected for a fourth term in office, despite his age and poor health.

The army's overthrow of Egypt's first freely elected president in July 2013 and its subsequent crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood movement have prompted references to the Algerian army's decision in the early 1990s to cancel elections that an Islamic party was poised to win.

The move sparked almost a decade of devastating civil war, in which up to 200,000 people were killed in fighting between Islamist insurgents and the military, which remains a dominant force in Algeria.

More than 1,400 people have so far been killed in the political unrest rocking Egypt since Morsi's ouster, and at least 15,000 people jailed.