Algeria independence figure Redha Malek dies aged 86

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Redha Malek, the last surviving member of Algeria’s negotiating team of the March 1962 peace agreement that led to its independence from France, died on Saturday aged 86, state television said.

Malek embarked on an extensive diplomatic career after the Evian accords that ended an uprising against French rule, crafting Algeria’s role as a key mediator in the region.

He was ambassador to Paris, London, Moscow, Washington and Belgrade, and also held several ministerial portfolios including foreign minister.

Malek was one of the main negotiators during the US hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.

He was a member of the high state committee which governed Algeria from 1992 to 1994 during its civil war against armed Islamists.

He became prime minister in 1993, before founding a political party, the National Republican Alliance, two years later.

He authored several books and advocated for the separation of state and religion.

“Algeria has lost a witness of his era, an enlightened patriot,” former communications minister Abdelaziz Rahabi told AFP.

“He was one of those who established the foundations of Algerian diplomacy.”

Malek is to be buried on Sunday at El Alia national cemetery in Algiers.