Even more pressing for Algeria was the visit of French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Algiers on Tuesday 20 May, his first visit to Algiers. He met Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, Defence Chief General Gaïd Salah, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and President Bouteflika himself. Details of their discussions have not been released, but are known to have centred on the deterioration of the security situations in both Libya and Mali.
It is widely believed that Le Drian asked Algeria for support for France’s new counter-terrorism mission for the Sahel which had been announced on 8 May. (For full details see Sahara Focus.) This will see a further 3,000 French troops deployed throughout Niger and Chad, in addition to 1,000 retained in Mali. Such support is more likely to be logistical than in the provision of Algerian troops, which Algiers would almost certainly decline.
It is also being rumoured that France broached the subject of Algerian intervention in Libya, although nothing has been publically released in that regard and, at this stage, it would seem very unlikely.
For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.
© 2014 Menas Associates