- Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has agreed to step in and defuse the tensions between Egypt and Algeria which were sparked off by the neighbours’ soccer World Cup play-off matches, state news agency, JANA, has revealed.
Mr Gaddafi’s acceptance for mediation follows a request by the Arab league, seeking to calm the tensions between the two north African states.
Diplomatic tensions between Egypt and Algeria have escalated as each side traded accusations with the other, of orchestrating the violent aftermath of the world cup qualifying game. The accusations include the failure of each government to protect their citizens and property from attacks by rival football fans.
Algeria qualified for the World Cup by beating Egypt 1-0 in the play-off held in Sudan on 18 November.
However, Egyptians were infuriated by reports that 21 of their fans had been attacked as they left the stadium in Khartoum.
At an earlier game between the two sides in Cairo, Algerian players were hurt by stone-throwing Egyptian fans and 32 supporters from both sides were injured in clashes after the match.
Arab League Secretary General, Amr Moussa, has reportedly called on Mr Gaddafi to intervene in his role as chairman of the African Union.
Since the initial violent reaction following the game, sensationalist news coverage has dominated the airwaves on both sides. Enraged fans at demonstrations in Cairo have called for Egypt to expel the Algerian ambassador and all other Algerians from Egypt.
News reports in both countries also ran stories on numerous killings tied to the riots, and video footage of ransacked businesses have been widely circulated, further inciting passions.
Last week, the Egyptian ambassador to Algeria was recalled in a twist of a political feud, following the violence that erupted from the football rivalry, in what Egyptian authorities down-played as only for consultations.
Reports have also said the Khartoum government, which played a neutral host for the derby game, has also joined in the diplomatic fracas accusing Egypt, especially its media, on the handling of the after game events.
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