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Algeria: Political Figures to Lead Government’s Dialogue with Protest Movement

Algeria: Political Figures to Lead Government’s Dialogue with Protest Movement

Thursday, 18 July, 2019 - 09:00
Protesters against Bouteflika’s regime (AFP)
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa

Algerian activists from dozens of associations and organizations held several meetings which resulted in suggesting various figures to mediate the upcoming rounds of dialogue between the government and the protest movement.

Head of Civil Forum for Change, Abdul Rahman Arar, announced at a press conference a list of 13 figures who are “capable of leading mediation and dialogue.”

Interim President Abdul Qadir bin Saleh called for the dialogue 10 days ago, as previously called by the army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaid Salah.

The list includes prominent social figures, most notably former Foreign Minister and 1999 presidential candidate Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, former prime ministers Mokdad Sifi and Mouloud Hamrouche, former speaker Karim Younes, revolution icon Djamila Bouhired, and protest leader Mustafa Bushashi.

The aim is to find a way out of the crisis, said Arar, a leading child protection activist.

He explained that several national figures have shown willingness to engage in mediation and dialogue.

Weeks ago, bin Saleh called on parties and activists to choose government independent figures for the mediation between the protesters and the authority to discuss organizing presidential elections as soon as possible.

The government failed to organize presidential elections scheduled for July 4.

Arar refused to comment on the authority’s “conditions” for the dialogue, emphasizing the need to create conditions for successful mediation and dialogue, noting that if approved, the team will start the task immediately.

He was referring to the movement’s position on the 13 figures, which would be revealed during Friday’s demonstrations. He also meant the position of the de facto authority of these proposed names.

The release of political prisoners will be a positive step and will enhance dialogue and confidence in the 13 figures, Arar said, about the arrest of political figures and young people from the movement.

Also, the counselor in charge of corruption files in the Supreme Court placed former Industry Minister Mahdjoub Bedda in temporary custody on charges of unfairly granting privileges to auto assemblers.

During the interrogation, Bedda was asked about his connection with businessman Hassan Arabawi, who owns a South Korean car company, who is also in prison on corruption charges.

Seventeen people involved in the case were imprisoned, most of the officials in the ministry of industry who granted Arabawi licenses, which permitted him to assemble vehicles illegally, according to the investigations of the National Gendarmerie.

Former industry minister Youcef Yousfi was also detained on same charges, while his colleague Abdeslam Bouchouareb, also the former minister who currently resides in France, refused to appear before the Supreme Court, and therefore, it will likely launch an international arrest warrant against him.

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