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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 19:51 GMT
Algeria dampens down France row
Algeria President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Mr Bouteflika has distanced himself from the comments
The Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has stepped in to defuse a row with France ahead of a visit by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Minister of War Veterans, Mohamed Cherif Abbas, said Mr Sarkozy owed his election in May to the "Jewish lobby".

President Bouteflika said Mr Abbas' opinions did not reflect those of the Algerian state.

Mr Bouteflika sought to distance himself from his minister's comments.

"Foreign policy is reserved for the president of the republic and his representatives, in particular the foreign minister," he said in a statement published by the official agency APS.

"It is not part of our tradition, or the way we see the duty of prudence incumbent on any state official with regard to value judgments on foreign heads of state or meddling in the internal affairs of other states," Mr Bouteflika said.

Mr Sarkozy is due to visit Algeria from 3 to 5 December.

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