The President of Niger, Lieutenant-Colonel Seyni Kountche, was greeted by his Algerian counterpart, Benjedid Chadli, when he arrived in Algiers on Sunday (13 May) for a two-day visit.
The President of Niger, Lieutenant-Colonel Seyni Kountche, was greeted by his Algerian counterpart, Benjedid Chadli, when he arrived in Algiers on Sunday (13 May) for a two-day visit. Top-level ministers accompanied President Kountche and talks centred on the continuing conflict in the Western Sahara and increased co-operation between the two countries.
SYNOPSIS: President Chadli recently received a delegation from the Organisation of African Unity intent on bringing a political solution to the four-year-old conflict in the Western Sahara. Spain handed over administration of the area to Morocco and Mauritania in 1976, but Algeria opposes this agreement. President Kountche is the leader of an active and well-respected member country of the non-aligned movement which intends to discuss the conflict at its Havana summit in September.
Algeria backs the guerrilla forces of the Polisario Front, which is fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara. Recent talks between Spanish Prime Minister, Adolfo Suarez, and the Polisario leadership also represent overt recognition of the Front's claims.
President Kountche met a number of foreign diplomats before his talks at the People's Palace. Discussions on strengthening economic ties between the two countries centred on improving the Trans-Sahara highway roadlink. Niger is seeking aid from the African Development Bank to finance a new section of the highway. A new telecommunications ground-station in Niger -- to be financed by Algeria -- was also discussed.