Algeria has been facing a civil war against Islamists for several years, and France has been trying to draw the world's attention to that threat, the official said.
The Algeria hostage-taking crisis could lead some countries to conclude that the only answer is for Western and African countries, and even moderate Islamic countries, to unite to fight terrorism. Others, however, the official said, might conclude that it is too dangerous, that it is a "vicious cycle and maybe it is better not to intervene."
A few years ago, there were a few hundred terrorists in southern Algeria, the official said, but now there are a few thousand. "We don't want to see tens of thousands of those terrorists in the coming years."