Clinton says Algeria key
 to halt Mali insurgency

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed optimism Monday that Algeria could play a key role in a growing international push toward a military intervention in Mali, where recent months have seen an al Qaeda-linked extremist group seize control of an area roughly the size of California. Mrs. Clinton made a point to make Algeria her first stop on her five-day trip that will focus predominantly on the Balkans, with stops in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, front left, speak during a news conference following their meeting in Algiers, Monday, Oct .29, 2012. (AP Photo/Sidali Djarboub)

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, front left, speak during a news conference following their meeting in Algiers, Monday, Oct .29, 2012. (AP Photo/Sidali Djarboub)

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