Security cooperation tops agenda as Tunisia PM visits Algeria
ALGIERS – Tunisian Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa arrived, on Saturday evening in Algiers on a two-day official visit. He was greeted at Haouari Boumedien Airport by Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal.
In a brief statement to reporters at the airport’s VIP lounge, Jomaa said his visit to Algeria is part of strengthening the relations of co-operation and brotherhood between the two countries.
The relations between Tunisia and Algeria have always been strong even during times of adversity and crises, he stated, adding that the security of Tunisia and Algeria is a common concern.
He highlighted the importance of security partnership between the two countries, indicating that his visit will be a good opportunity to foster and further expand bilateral economic relations.
Mehdi Jomaa is visiting Algeria at the invitation of Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal. It is his first official visit since taking office as prime minister.
The Interim PM is accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Mongi Hamdi.
Tunisia security forces have been tracking jihadists holed up in the remote Mount Chaambi region that straddles the Algerian border.
The area has been mined with homemade bombs, which are thought to have killed more than 15 soldiers and police so far last year, while a number of militants have also been killed by the Tunisian forces.
But the defence ministry has admitted it lacks the resources to comprehensively defeat the group.
Since the 2011 revolution that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and ignited the Arab Spring, Tunisia has been rocked by violence blamed on radical Islamist groups who had been suppressed under the former dictator, with the attacks multiplying in recent months.
The authorities blame Ansar al-Sharia, Tunisia's main Salafist movement, which they have branded a "terrorist organisation" with ties to Al-Qaeda. They have also implicated the group in the killing of two opposition politicians this year.
The group has always denied resorting to violence.