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Kerry arrives in Algiers at start of North Africa tour

Supporters of Algerian President Abdelazziz Bouteflika (portraits) gather during a political meeting in the city of Tlemcen, some 600 km west of Algiers on March 26, 2014, ahead of next month's presidential electionUS Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Algiers on Wednesday evening at the start of a North African tour expected to be dominated by the threat posed by Al-Qaeda. Kerry was greeted at the airport by Algeria’s Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, an AFP journalist reported. “The question of the Sahel will be a central issue in the discussions,” Ramtane’s spokesman Abdelaziz Cherif Benali told state radio earlier. Jihadist violence has plagued the vast Sahel-Sahara region since the 2011 overthrow of Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, prompting a French-led military intervention in Algeria’s southern neighbour Mali in January last year.

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