Relations between Egypt and Algeria are “at stake” due to stark differences in views regarding the Libyan file, an Egyptian diplomatic source revealed to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site.
The source said Egyptian officials were shocked by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s reception of Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, and the fact he did not aim to persuade Dbeibeh to hand over power to Fathi Bashagha, elected by the east-based House of Representatives, but rather to support him.
“Dbeibeh has recently resorted to Algeria for support, taking advantage of its refusal to extend the transitional phase in Libya and to hold elections as soon as possible,” the source said.
Tension in the Egyptian-Algerian relations were at their highest in February when Algeria, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa announced the formation of the Group of Four Nations (G4) aiming to deal with various issues facing Africa.
The source explained that the Egyptian political leadership viewed the step as directly “targeting it”, especially since the alliance included Ethiopia while Cairo had not been approached by Algeria to join.
The diplomat stressed that the issue has turned into an Egyptian-Algerian conflict on Libyan territory, where each party supports one of the two rival governments, noting at the same time, that “the real crisis for Cairo is the conformity of the Algerian position with the position of the United Nations mission, which enjoys broader international support.”
The Algerian president had hinted at differences with Egypt over the Libyan file in an interview broadcasted on state television on Saturday evening.
“The Libyan government that enjoys international legitimacy is the government of Dbeibeh,” Tebboune said in the interview, adding that Algeria is committed to and adheres to international legitimacy which supports the internationally recognised government, stressing his rejection of the unilateral step that Egypt had pushed for regarding the appointment of Bashagha’s government.