By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 29 December 2013:
Deals on border security cooperation, the movement of people and goods across their common frontier and . . .[restrict]historical research were signed today by the Libyan and Algerian prime ministers.
Algerian premier Abdelmalek Sellal was in Tripoli to meet Ali Zeidan , so they could sign off on several months of detailed talks on security and the monitoring of freight and travellers.
When Zeidan visited Algiers this August both sides agreed to activate a Joint Commission on security which had been agreed last year. It appears that the bulk of the deal signed today concerned the working up of this structure.
Algeria has become increasingly concerned at Libya’s porous borders and the activities of arms smugglers and militant groups. In January this year, in a three-cornered meeting that included the Tunisians, Zeidan and Sellal agreed on a major upgrade of cross-border security, cracking down on the smuggling of people, drugs and arms and on terrorism. Only days later came the bloody attack on the Algerian gas plant at In Amenas in which 38 oil workers were killed. There is strong evidence that the terrorists receive support from across the border in Libya.
The two principal agreements wrapped up at today’s meeting at Tripoli’s Corinthia Hotel were on the common border between Ghadames-Aldbdab and “International transport of people and goods across the roads and transit points”. They were signed by Libyan foreign minister Mohamed Abdulaziz and his Algerian counterpart Ramatane Lamamra.
In an apparent reference to the Joint Commission on security, Sellal said that this would need to be activated. It would involve both sides in military, border control and defence training.
Sellal emphasized that Algeria would defend its borders and the rights and interests of its people. At the same time Algeria would not intervene in Libya’s internal affairs but would support the government and the Libyan people in their current difficult times.