Libya’s new leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil will go to Algeria this month in a bid to improve ties between the two North African oil producers following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, said Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci.
Speaking to French lawmakers in Paris, Medelci said Libya and Algeria had no choice but to work more closely together.
“I confirm that President Abdel Jalil will be in Algeria very soon, probably by the end of the year,” Medelci said during a hearing at France’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee, Reuters reports.
“Our contacts before this visit have been extremely encouraging. We don’t have any other choice but to work together,” he said.
Libya’s new rulers accused Algeria of being on Gaddafi’s side during the revolution, although Algiers says it was observing strict neutrality and complying with U.N. sanctions.
Algeria’s most pressing worry has been that Libya’s new rulers might be less able or inclined than Gaddafi to rein in al Qaeda’s North African wing, and thus undermine its own efforts to fight Islamic militancy.
Western countries are also desperate for the neighbours to cooperate to prevent vast quantities of weapons and explosives that Libya’s revolution has put into circulation ending up in the hands of al Qaeda.
In August, Algeria infuriated Libya’s anti-Gaddafi National Transitional Council by giving humanitarian refuge to Gaddafi’s wife, daughter and sons Hannibal and Mohammed.
But there are signs that the welcome may be wearing thin.
On November 30, Gaddafi’s daughter, Aisha, urged Libyans on Syrian television to overthrow the new government, prompting Algerian authorities to warn her that she was abusing their hospitality.
Medelci declined to comment on what could happen to her.