Top French Diplomat Urges Easing Of Tension With Algeria

Top French diplomat urges easing of tension with Algeria

Algiers, Dec 8 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 8th Dec, 2021 ) :France's top diplomat Jean-Yves Le Drian called Wednesday for an easing of tensions with Algeria, during a surprise visit to Algiers after repeated crises between the North African country and its former colonial power.

Addressing journalists after meeting President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Le Drian said Algeria was an "essential parter for France".

"I hope that our two countries will return together to the path of a peaceful relationship and look to the future," he said.

"We hope that the dialogue that we have relaunched today can lead to a resumption of political exchanges between our governments, going beyond the wounds of the past, which we must face, and misunderstandings, which we must overcome." He voiced hope that both would work together to bring stability to Algeria's neighbours, Libya and Mali.

Relations between Algiers and Paris have been strained for much of the six decades since the former French colony won its independence after a 130-year occupation.

President Emmanuel Macron has gone further than his predecessors in owning up to French abuses during the colonial era.

But ties collapsed in October after Macron accused Algeria's "political-military system" of rewriting history and fomenting "hatred towards France".

In remarks to descendants of independence fighters, reported by Le Monde, Macron also questioned whether Algeria had existed as a nation before the French invasion in the 1800s.

Coming a month after Paris decided to sharply reduce visa quotas for citizens of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, those comments sparked a fierce reaction from Algeria.

The country withdrew its ambassador and banned French military planes from its airspace, which they regularly use to carry out operations against jihadist groups in West Africa and the Sahel region.

The comments also prompted Tebboune to boycott a major November summit in Paris on Algeria's war-torn neighbour Libya, vowing Algeria would "not take the first step" to repair ties.