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Algiers International Bookfair Commissioner Ismael Ameziane attributed a decision not to invite Egypt to a bookfair scheduled for 26 October purely to security reasons.
"I don’t think we are able to protect Egyptian publishers from unpredictable reactions,” Ameziane told Algerian newspaper Al-Khabar on Tuesday, referring to the possibility of an attack on Egypt’s pavilion that may again disturb relations between the two countries, already highly strained following violence between supporters during the World Cup playoffs last November.
Amaziane said Mohamed Rashad, president of the Egyptian Publishers Federation, fully understands the situation.
Last week, a Culture Ministry official said that Egypt planned to invite Algeria to the Cairo International Bookfair slated for the beginning of next year, in spite of the fact that Algeria had not extended a similar invitation to Egypt.
Last May, Egypt was fined US$88,160 after an attack on Algeria’s national football team in the run-up to November's World Cup qualifiers in Cairo. Four members of the Algerian delegation, including three players, were injured in the incident.
Algeria's decision to exclude Egypt from its bookfair is the latest twist in a long-running football feud between the two nations, which dates back to a World Cup qualifier 20 years ago in Cairo, when Egypt won 1-0, ensuring its place in the 1990 playoffs in Italy.
Several Egyptian institutions, including publishing houses and film production companies, declared a boycott on Algeria last year following events at the World Cup football match.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.