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Algerian MPs quit international conference over Israel

Algerian flags flutter in front of the People's National Assembly (parliament) building in the capital Algiers, on 10 September 2020. [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP via Getty Images]
Algerian flags flutter in front of the People's National Assembly (parliament) building in the capital Algiers, on 10 September 2020 [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP/Getty Images]

An Algerian parliamentary delegation has withdrawn from an international conference, citing the participation of an Israeli representative, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Saturday, Ammar Moussa, one of three lawmakers representing Algeria in the meeting, said a teleconference meeting was organized by the International Parliamentary Network on Tuesday and Wednesday between representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean describes itself as "the principal forum where the national Parliaments of the Euro-Mediterranean region deliberate to reach those strategic objectives towards the creation of the best political, social, economic and cultural environment and conditions for the fellow citizens of the member states".

According to Moussa, the discussions on the first day, which did not feature an Israeli representative, revolved around ways to revive economic activity, overcome the consequences of the coronavirus, and the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

"On the second day, a change occurred in the list of participants which included a representative of Israel, Mickey Levy," Moussa said, adding that he informed the National People's Assembly, the lower house of the Algerian parliament, about the change after which they were instructed not to participate.

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Mickey Levy is a current member of Knesset and a former Israeli deputy minister of finance.

Moussa said that he explained to the International Parliamentary Network the reason behind the withdrawal of his delegation, which in turn "understood the situation."

The International Parliamentary Network, according to its website, is a coalition that seeks to enhance expertise and cooperation between legislators, parliamentarians and political alliances around the world.

Last month, Algerian deputies presented a bill to criminalize normalisation with Israel to the President of the National Assembly, which also included provisions prohibiting traveling to Israel.

The bill has not yet been approved.

Algeria is one of the Arab countries rejecting normalizing relations with Israel.

On Sept. 20, Algerian President Abdel-Majid Tebboune maintained that his country will not normalise relations with Israel, describing the Palestinian issue as "sacred" to the Algerian people. His statement came days after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed US-brokered deals to normalize relations with Israel.

In 2020, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco announced controversial normalization agreements with Israel, following moves decades ago by Egypt and Jordan, which signed deals with Israel in 1979 and 1994, respectively.

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