Algerian official warns against Mali intervention

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Associated Press

Posted on November 10, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 10 at 6:04 PM

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An international military intervention into Mali at this time would be useless, a top advisor to Algeria's president said Saturday.

The remarks by Kamal Rezzag Bara, terrorism and security advisor to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, underline Algeria's deep-seated unease with international plans to invade northern Mali.

There have been several international efforts to persuade Algeria, which is the strongest military power bordering Mali, to support the intervention, which would be spearheaded by West African nations with French support.

Bara said internationalizing the crisis would only "aggravate the situation" and he that Mali itself should be helped to come up with a roadmap and agreement involving all the actors to resolve the crisis.

"The question in Mali is an internal matter and there is no need to further internationalize it," he said.

His remarks, however, come as the West African regional bloc ECOWAS moves forward with plans to invade.

On Thursday, Djibril Bassole, foreign minister of Burkina Faso, said military intervention is inevitable after a plan to invade has been drafted.

Bara maintained that the international community has to distinguish between groups in north Mali with political demands ready to negotiate and terrorist groups. Ansar Dine, one of the main group's controlling northern Mali, denounced extremism last week and said it was ready to negotiate. Other groups in the area include the North African branch of al-Qaida and a splinter group that are believed to be mostly made up of foreign fighters.

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