Libyan leader to mediate Egypt-Algeria row

Libyan leader to mediate Egypt-Algeria row

CAIRO: Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi has said he will help mediate an end to the ongoing media and diplomatic rift that has erupted between Egypt and Algeria after violent unrest erupted in Sudan following last Wednesday’s match and on Friday in Cairo. The Libyan news agency JANA reported that it had learned that Gaddafi would enter the fray as mediator as relations between Egypt and Algeria continue to deteriorate.

“Jana has learnt that the leader of the revolution, Chairman of the African Union is to act to heal the rift in the relationship between Egypt and Algeria caused by the fallout from the football match between the teams of the two countries,” the official government agency reported. “However, the Secretary of the Arab League, Amr Moussa has appealed to the Leader to intervene in the ongoing crisis given the good status that the Leader enjoys being the Chairman of the African Union and the status the Leader enjoys with both sides.”

The Sudanese capital witnessed an unprecedented number of alleged violent incidents and clashes between fans of both countries, where Egyptian reports claimed hundreds of Egyptian fans being attacked by the Algerian fans following the match.

Youtube was swamped with tons of videos showing Algerian supporters holding knives and chanting in the stadium, lashing out against Egyptians.

The game resulted in a wave of tensions, hatred and violence between both nations, Facebook witnessed a war of groups following the match and both sides accused each other of violence and insulting each other.

By midnight on Wednesday, Egypt reported a large number of Egyptian citizens and supporters were attacked by Algerian supporters and that Egyptians were critically injured.

One Egyptian singer was quoted by local media as saying “Egyptian masses are trapped in the apartments of a group of Sudanese citizens after a number of Algerian fans blocked their way.” He added that “the Egyptian bus of the National Democratic Party that was allocated to transport fans from Cairo to Khartoum to watch the game, was attacked and Algerian fans smashed the windows of the bus.”

On Thursday, Hossam Zaki, spokesman of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, said that Egypt had summoned the Algerian Ambassador Abdel Kader Hagar, as requested by President Mubarak, to protest the violent incidents in Sudan and to inform him of Egypt’s “deep resentment of the attacks on the Egyptian citizens who went to Khartoum in order to encourage the Egyptian national team fans at the hands of the Algerians.”

Egypt also expressed its anger and dismay at the continuing complaints and the cries of a large number of Egyptian citizens living in Algeria at what they are said is intimidation and aggression, in addition to what has happened to some properties of Egyptians living in Algeria, including the Egypt Air office.

Hagar said that he regrets the recent tensions in Egyptian-Algerian relations as a result of the match, stressing that it is apparently moving toward further deterioration in spite of the efforts of diplomacy and attempts to prevent such a decline and that the recent events “does not suit the historical relations between Egypt and Algeria.” He denied his personal responsibility for what happened, saying that it is absurd to hear some media and TV Channels pointing the finger at the ambassador, while the ambassador still defends the historical amiable relations between Egypt and Algeria.

The Egyptian foreign ministry confirmed that it also called back its Egyptian Ambassador in Algeria for consultation as the matter has raised fears of possible tensions between the two Arab nations.