Algeria has given de facto recognition to the new Libyan leaders in expressing its wish to work "closely" with the National Transitional Council (NTC) and re-establish "normal" cooperation.
"Algeria has decided to work with the new Libyan authorities and see that cooperation between the two countries returns to normal cooperation, and I would even say particularly strengthened cooperation in all domains," Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said Friday.
In an announcement Thursday, Algiers said "the Algerian government declares its willingness to work closely with the new Libyan authorities to establish a bilateral cooperation to benefit the two brotherly nations and promote conditions of peace, security and stability in the region."
But neither statement spoke of official recognition of the NTC regime.
Algiers has hitherto modelled its position on that of the African Union (AU), which does fully recognise the new Libyan government set up by rebels who toppled Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
The AU announced on 20 September that it recognises the NTC.
Speaking in New York, Medelci said that "the position of Algeria is based on one hand on consistency with that of the African Union and on the other hand on the commitment of the NTC to consolidate the unity of the Libyan people, which is the most important."
The El-Watan daily described Algeria's stance as tantamount to recognition and "a way of not losing face," while the Arabic-language El-Khabar daily went further and put "Algeria recognises the new authorities in Libya" as its headline on the front page.
The junior minister for the Maghreb (north Africa) and Africa, Abdelkader Messahel, recently warned that "the Libyan crisis has created a further threat to the Sahel", already facing terrorism and organised crime.
Algeria had previously angered the NTC by allowing members of fugitive Libyan leader Gaddafi's family to seek sanctuary across the border.