French Top Diplomat Visits Algeria To Mend Relations

French top diplomat visits Algeria to mend relations

Paris, Dec 8 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 8th Dec, 2021 ) :French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is to hold rare talks in the Algerian capital Algiers on Wednesday in a bid to mend relations damaged by a series of disagreements, the foreign ministry said.

Le Drian is making a "working visit, to evaluate and relaunch the relationship", a French foreign ministry source, who asked not to be named, told AFP, adding that Le Drian had already arrived in the country.

The source said that during the visit, which was only revealed at the last moment, Le Drian would hold talks with his counterpart Ramtane Lamamra but also, crucially, be received by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Le Drian's presence in the country and his meeting schedule were also confirmed by Algerian official media.

Relations between Algeria and France are currently enduring one of their toughest periods in recent years, in a situation at odds with President Emmanuel Macron's determination to take ties with former French colonies in to a new era during his mandate.

Macron himself poured fuel onto the fire of the tensions, personally outraging Tebboune with comments in October criticising Algeria's "political-military system".

The comments prompted Tebboune to stay away from a major summit on Libya in Paris in November in a major blow to the event. The dispute prompted a rare expression of contrition from the Elysee, which said it "regretted" the misunderstandings caused by the remarks.

Algeria was also angered by a decision from Paris to sharply reduce the number of visas it grants to Algerian citizens.

Algiers even recalled its ambassador from Paris and banned French military planes from its airspace, which French pilots regularly cross en route to counter-terrorism operations in West Africa.