Clinton pledges US help to nurture north Africa democracy – ALGIERS (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged US backing for democratic and economic development in north Africa Saturday as she toured the region that gave birth to the Arab spring.
Clinton flew into Algeria Saturday from neighbouring Tunisia, where she attended the “Friends of Syria” international gathering a day earlier. Later Saturday, she was due to fly on to the Moroccan capital, Rabat.
Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci, who visited Washington last May, was at the airport to meet Clinton. The two were to discuss political reform, security issues and counter-terrorism in the region, said Algeria’s foreign ministry.
She also met President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and the two were due to dine together before her departure for Rabat. They would discuss Algeria’s approaching parliamentary elections in May, her office said.
At a speech in the US embassy in Algiers, she said the people of north Africa’s Maghreb region should determine their own future.
“I come from Tunisia, tomorrow I will be in Morocco. My message is the same: the people of the Maghreb are as talented, creative and hard working as people anywhere in the world,” she said.
“They need and deserve to make decisions on behalf of themselves because that is good for the dignity and rights of every individual and it’s good for every society.”
The Maghreb region comprises Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
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