Cameron In Algeria: PM Urges Terrorism Fight With 'Everything At Our Disposal'

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said the international community should use "everything at its disposal" to fight terrorism, on a visit to Algeria.


UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said the international community should use "everything at its disposal" to fight terrorism, on a visit to Algeria.

The recent hostage crisis, in which some 37 foreigners died, was "a reminder that what happens in other countries affects us at home", he said.

He also defended Western intervention in the conflict in neighbouring Mali.

He is the first British prime minister to visit the North African country since it became independent in 1962.

Following the recent siege at the In Amenas gas plant in the Sahara, in which up to six Britons lost their lives, Mr Cameron is discussing the threat of terrorism with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmalek Sellal

He is expected to announce a security partnership with Algeria, as well as co-operation on trade, investment and education.

'Safer world'

Ahead of the meeting, he said the UK's focus was "very much about helping this neighbourhood to help itself".

Speaking to reporters, he said he wanted to "work with the Algerian government and with other government in the region to make sure we do everything we can do to combat terrorism in a way that is both tough and intelligent, and uses everything we have at our disposal, which will make them safer, make us safer, make the world safer".

The UK is to send 330 military personnel to Mali and west Africa to support French forces battling Islamist militants.

The deployment will include as many as 40 military advisers in Mali and 200 British soldiers in neighbouring African countries, to help train the Malian army.

Critics have warned of "mission creep", but Mr Cameron said the UK was an "open, international" country and, linking the conflict in North Africa to British national interests, said the country's "posture" was to protect its citizens around the world.

"We don't look at this region of the world and think that the answer is purely a military one," Mr Cameron added. "It is not.

"What is required in countries like Mali, just as countries like Somalia on the other side of Africa, is that combination of tough approach on security, aid, politics, settling grievances and problems."

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the prime minister, who earlier laid a wreath at the martyrs memorial in Algiers, was keen to use this trip to address fears that he is risking a protracted military engagement in north Africa.

He wanted to stress the situation in Mali would not become "another Afghanistan or even another Libya", our correspondent, who is travelling with the UK government entourage, added.

The PM's national security advisor, the head of foreign security service MI6 and trade minister Lord Risby are accompanying Mr Cameron.