Welch: “Amending the Algerian constitutions matters the Unites States”

The US Assistant Secretary of State, David Welch:

“Amending the Algerian constitutions matters the Unites States”

El Khabar, 28 february 2008

The United States has reiterated its readiness delivering Algerian detainees in Guantanamo on condition that Authorities provide guarantees that they won’t back to terrorism fiefs.” The US is also ready opening a debate on issues like the imminent amendment of the Algerian Constitution and the possible nomination of President Bouteflika for a third term.

The Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East and North Africa Affairs, David Welch told journalists in the US Embassy in Algiers on the occasion of the conclusion of his visit, that Washington pays an attention to what is happening in Algeria, including the amendment of the constitution issue, despite this latter was absent in discussions with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem and Foreign Affairs Minister Mourad Medelci.

On another side, Mr. Welch indicated the US and Algeria are likely to reach a compromise specifying conditions of handing over Algerians detained in Guantanamo. He said such a compromise has already been reached with other countries in the region, pointing out that the return of Algerian detainees of Guantanamo to their country depends on providing guarantees from the Algerian Authorities.

In this context, Mr. Welch said: “we require no more than guarantees proving that the detainees won’t back to terrorism fiefs once being delivered to Algeria.” These conditions have already raised a controversy last year while being disclosed for the first time by the US Ambassador to Algiers. At that time Foreign Affairs Minister retorted by saying: “Algeria doesn’t accept any dictates from any country about concerning its nationals.”

The US secretary of State has further expressed his back up to the Government in terms of countering terrorism, denying, however, the existence of an Algerian request to purchase US weapons. He said the military partnership between the two countries is limited on providing Algeria with electronic devices like radars, pointing out: “we have already sold recently to Algeria devices with significant amount.” He further indicated that the US is following the military partnership between Algeria and Russia, saying: “the Algerian market has an important potential but still small.”


28-02-2008 By H.Y/ Translation A.A