ALGIERS: Egyptian publishers were absent Tuesday as Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika kicked off an international book fair, nearly a year after the two countries clashed over a football match.
Despite assurances last month by the fair’s chief that Egyptian literature would be represented at the event, "Egyptian publishers have not come," said Abdallah Benadouda, spokesman for the Algiers International Book Fair.
In August, Algerian and international intellectuals signed a petition urging the fair’s organizers to revoke an apparent decision to exclude Egypt from this year’s event, which gathers 460 publishers from 30 countries.
Organizers said no such ban existed.
In November 2009, a bus transporting the Algerian football team in Cairo for a World Cup qualification match was pelted with stones. Two days later, Egyptian business premises and homes in Algeria were attacked.
In June, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak paid a "friendly" visit to Algeria in a bid to warm relations.
The book fair follows an international cartoon festival in Algeria, which has emerged from a 1990s’ civil war that killed tens of thousands of people