Algeria Minister: Our Ties with Iraq Will Not Be Ruined by Side Issues

Tuesday, 11 September, 2018 - 18:30
Asharq Al-Awsat

Algeria’s Youth and Sports Minister Mohamed Hattab declared on Tuesday that ties between Algiers and Baghdad “will not be ruined by side issues.”

One isolated incident cannot tarnish the image of the Algerian people, who are renowned for their generosity, he added.

A football match between Iraqi and Algerian clubs sparked on Sunday a political crisis between the two countries after fans of the North African team made chants in support of late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Supporters of Algeria’s USM Alger also made anti-Shiite chants, prompting Iraq’s Nadi Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya Al-Riyadhi to withdraw from the game before its completion.

The two clubs were playing in the quarterfinals of the Algeria-hosted Arab Club Championship. The Iraqi club was trailing by two goals to none.

On Monday, head of the Algerian Olympic Committee Mustapha Berraf offered his apologies to the Iraqi ambassador in Algeria over the incident.

He regretted the “inappropriate behavior” of some of the fans during the weekend’s match.

On Tuesday, Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel and his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari hailed the “depth of the historic” ties between their two countries.

The two officials met in Cairo on the sidelines of an Arab League meeting.

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