Algerian leader to go to Saudi Arabia in first state visit since election

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune arrives for the opening of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune will travel to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, state media reported, his first state visit since being elected in December.

Tebboune is making the trip as Algeria seeks to build support for a summit meeting it plans to host on the crisis in neighboring Libya and the day after he met the emir of Qatar in Algiers.

Tebboune has said he will focus on domestic issues after a year of mass protests that have shaken Algeria’s ruling elite and forced the departure of his predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

However, the crisis in Libya and security troubles in another neighbor, Mali, have pushed foreign affairs further up the agenda.

While his trip to Saudi Arabia will be his first state visit as president, he has traveled to Germany for an international meeting on Libya and to Ethiopia for an African Union summit.

Reporting By Lamine Chikhi, writing by Angus McDowall; editing by Grant McCool