ALGIERS, Algeria

The Algerian Defense Ministry on Sunday denied reports that it plans to send troops to the Sahel region under a French-led coalition.

A ministry statement described the reports as “false”, saying this news “aims to promote chaos and destabilize the country”.

Earlier reports suggested that Algeria had signed an agreement with France to contribute troops to a French-led coalition that includes other G-5 Sahel members.

The G5 Sahel — or G5S — is an institutional framework for regional cooperation in development policies and security matters in West Africa. It was formed on Feb. 16, 2014, in Nouakchott, Mauritania at a summit of five Sahel countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

France and several of its European allies have troops in the Sahel.

The controversy followed a summit held by French President Emmanuel Macron on Feb. 15-16 with the leaders of the G5 Sahel in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, to discuss military cooperation in confronting terror threats in the region.

Algeria is the only country in the Sahel that refused to join the alliance established by France in 2017.

Algeria already coordinates with the armies of Mali, Mauritania, and Niger to combat terrorism and organized crimes in the region within the framework of the Joint Operational Staff Committee established in 2010.

Last November, Algerian voters approved a constitutional amendment that allow the army to send troops in overseas missions under specific conditions.

*Ibrahim Mukhtar from Ankara contributed to this report