Leaders of Algeria and France proclaim “renewed partnership”
Tunis, Aug 27 (EFE).- French President Emmanuel Macron’s three-day official visit to Algeria concluded Saturday with the signing of the Declaration of Algiers, in which he and counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune signaled a “new, irreversible dynamic of progress” in bilateral relations.
The “excellent and successful” visit just months after Algerians celebrated the 60th anniversary of their independence from France “permitted a rapprochement that would not have been possible without the character of the (French) president,” Tebboune said.
Word of the “renewed partnership” marks a thaw following a chill in ties between Paris and Algiers due to remarks by Macron last year suggesting that Algeria would not have become a nation if not for colonization and accusing the Algerian government of fostering “hatred towards France.”
Those comments prompted Algeria to recall its ambassador from Paris and to bar French military planes from Algerian airspace.
The first official event of this week’s visit was a joint press conference where Macron and Tebboune announced plans to form a bilateral commission to examine the events of France’s 132-year-long colonial rule of the North African nation, which ended only after an eight-year war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
“We have a complex, painful common past. And it has at times prevented us from looking to the future,” Macron said Thursday.
The Declaration of Algiers provided additional details on the bi-national panel of historians, which is to have access to archives in both countries and will be free to scrutinize the war, French nuclear weapons tests in Algeria and other sensitive topics.
Besides the declaration, the two governments inked subsidiary accords for collaboration in specific areas including scientific research and higher education.
Ahead of the signing ceremony in Algiers, Macron spent much of Saturday in Oran, Algeria’s second city, paying a visit to a record store, Disco Maghreb, that was the hub in the 1980s and ’90s of the popular Rai genre.
DJ Snake, a French music producer of Algerian descent, recently released a single named after the shop.
Macron was accompanied to Algeria by 90 people, including figures from the worlds of the arts and business, in line with the visit’s official focus on social and cultural relations.
Even so, the two governments discussed Europe’s energy crisis and the security situation in the Sahel region in the wake of the Aug. 15 withdrawal of French troops from Mali.
But those talks did not lead to any formal agreements.
Algeria, Africa’s largest producer of natural gas, is receiving a lot of attention from European governments seeking to replace Russian gas in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Algiers already supplies gas to Spain and Italy via pipelines under the Mediterranean. EFE