ALGIERS, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Algeria’s foreign ministry denied on Friday that it was linking recognition of Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) to a commitment from the council to crack down on Islamist militants.
A government source in Algeria, which neighbours Libya, had told Reuters on Thursday that it would not yet grant recognition to the NTC, and that it wanted to be certain that Libya’s rulers are engaged in fighting al Qaeda’s north African wing.
A spokesman for the Algerian foreign ministry said in a statement he “categorically rejected this information,” the official APS news agency reported.
He said the report “does not represent the position or reflect the views of the Algerian government on the recent events which have taken place in Libya.”
Algeria is still emerging from a conflict with Islamist militants which killed an estimated 200,000 people at its peak in the 1990s. Its government is anxious that chaos in Libya could be exploited by al Qaeda.
Relations between the NTC and Algeria have been fraught. Rebel officials have accused Algeria of backing Muammar Gaddafi in the country’s civil war, an allegation Algeria has denied. (Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Mark Heinrich)