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Wednesday, June 8, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. Africa Command chief: No evidence Algeria is supporting Gadhafi regime

CAIRO — A senior U.S. military commander said the United States has not found evidence that Algeria was directly supporting the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.


U.S. Africa Command chief Gen. Carter Ham said the Algerian government was not known to have sent mercenaries to fight the rebels in Libya.

"I have seen absolutely no reporting that indicates that Algeria is suporting the movement of fighters to Libya," Ham said during a two-day visit to Algiers on June 1. "To the contrary, Algeria has been supporting, and strongly so, regional security and countering terrorism."

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Ham's statement, made during a briefing, came amid concern by the administration of President Barack Obama that the Algerian regime of President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika was sending fighters and weapons to Gadhafi. In April, several military cargo planes arrived in Tripoli from Algiers, which denied assistance to Gadhafi.

This marked Ham's first visit to Algeria as Africom commander. Ham, who met Bouteflika, said he was "commited to strengthening and expanding this relationship and working with Algeria in a number of areas regarding mutual security cooperation interests."

Officials said Ham's discussions focused on regional security coordination. They cited the civil war in Libya, the Al Qaida threat and other issues.

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