David Cameron is due to arrive in Algeria for talks on the growing terror threat in north Africa, and to pay his respects to the victims of this month’s gas facility hostage crisis in which six Britons died.
He is set to meet with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmalek Sellal in Algiers, who angered Mr Cameron and other world leaders by not informing them in advance that troops were storming the In Amenas gas plant, part-owned by BP.
Thirty-seven foreigners, at least ten Algerians and dozens of terrorists died in the military operation at the Sahara facility.
Mr Cameron, who is set to become the first serving British prime minister to visit Algeria since its independence from France in 1962, is expected to call for a ‘tough, patient and intelligent response’ to tackling the threat from terrorism in the region in talks that will also involve the country’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Yesterday it was confirmed that up to 330 UK troops will assist French military operations in neighbouring Mali, where al-Qaeda-linked militants seized the north of the country last year.
Around 240 military personnel will train the Malian military and prepare soldiers from other African countries, while 90 others could provide air support and a roll-on, roll-off ferry service will help transport French equipment.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, Mr Cameron said: ‘I believe we are in the midst of a long struggle against murderous terrorists and a poisonous ideology that supports them.
‘Just as we’ve successfully put pressure on al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, so al-Qaeda franchises have been growing for years in Yemen, in Somalia and across parts of north Africa, places that have suffered hideously through hostage taking, terrorism and crime.’
David Cameron in Algeria for north Africa terrorism threat talks – Metro
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