Algeria denies being pressed to send counter-terrorism troops to Mali, Niger

Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel has denied the existence of external pressure to force the country to militarily interfere beyond its border, including in Mali and Niger, to track down terrorism.

"Algeria is immune from such attempts because of its firm stance of refusing to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries," Messahel said in an interview with the Algerian national radio on Thursday.

"Algeria firmly believes in protecting its borders on its own and defending its security by fighting terrorism," he said and pointing out that the task of defending the country's border is "professionally" carried out by the Algerian army.

The Algerian minister was reacting to international reports that France and the United States are pressing Algeria to engage in military operations against terrorist groups in the region.

Algeria "has always worked for mediation and supporting the option of dialogue and political solutions when it comes to dealing with crisis hitting neighboring nations," said Messahel.

Algeria's refusal to interfere in the hotbeds of tension does not mean that it is "closed to itself and does not contribute to the fight against terrorism," he explained, stressing that Algeria is training a number of counterterrorism elite troops in Mali and Niger, as well as providing logistical support and humanitarian assistance to the two countries.

Source: International Islamic News Agency