Algerian President Colonel Houari Boumedienne arrived in Moscow on Thursday (12 January) for a surprise round of talks following a Middle East tour which took him to 10 Arab states.
Algerian President Colonel Houari Boumedienne arrived in Moscow on Thursday (12 January) for a surprise round of talks following a Middle East tour which took him to 10 Arab states. His tour was intended to rally Arab opposition to the Middle East peace initiatives made by Egypt's President Anwar Sadat. Observers described President Boumedienne's trip to Moscow as a mission to brief Soviet leaders on what he had achieved.
SYNOPSIS: In last stop on President Boumedienne's tour was the Syrian capital of Damascus, where he had talks with Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad. According to officials, the two men discussed the impact of the current Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations on what was described as the "Arab situation". But observers say a big talking point was the long-standing ideological feud between Syria and neighbouring Iraq, which split hard-line Arab opposition to President Sadat's peace moves at the "Rajectionist Front" meeting in Tripoli late last year.
Instead of flying home as expected, Colonel Boumedienne went direct from Damascus to Moscow, where he was met at the airport by the Soviet Prime Minister, Mr Alexei Kosygin. Also on hand to welcome the Algerian president were the Soviet Foreign Minister Mr Andrei Gromyko, and the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Mr Vasily Kuznetsov.
Two hours later at the Kremlin, President Boumedienne and Mr Kosygin went through another short welcoming ceremony before getting down to talks.
High on the agenda was the Middle East. According to the official Soviet News Agency, Tass, the Soviet leaders reaffirmed their support for the position taken by the hard-timers -- Algeria, Syria Libyan Jamahiriyah, and South Yemen -- in opposing the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations. They also described the negotiations as an "anti-Arab separate deal' which had aggravated the situation in the Middle East.