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Macron Seeks To ’Rebuild, Develop’ Ties During Algeria Trip

Macron Seeks To ’Rebuild, Develop’ Ties During Algeria Trip
folder_openAlgeria access_timeone year ago
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By Staff, Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron starts a three-day visit Thursday to Algeria to help mend ties with the former French colony, which this year marks its 60th anniversary of independence.

The first French president to be born after Algerian independence, Macron is hoping "to lay a foundation to rebuild and develop" a sometimes difficult relationship with the North African nation, his office said.

Macron is accompanied by seven ministers.

Macron and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune will visit a monument to martyrs of the country's war for independence, which ended more than 130 years of French colonial rule with Algeria's independence in 1962.

Franco-Algerian relations have seen repeated crises since then.

The French leader, on his second visit to Algeria since he took power in 2017, "has chosen to direct this visit towards the future, [focusing on] start-ups, innovation, youth, new sectors," the Elysee said on Tuesday.

Macron, alongside a 90-strong delegation, will meet entrepreneurs in Algiers as well as young people in the second city Oran.

Ties between Paris and Algiers have been particularly stormy since last year, when Macron questioned Algeria's existence as a nation before the French occupation and accused the government of fomenting "hatred towards France."

Tebboune withdrew his country's ambassador in response and banned French military aircraft from its airspace.

But Macron's office issued a statement saying he "regretted" the misunderstandings caused by his comments, and his aides believe that both sides have moved on.

They note the resumption of normal diplomatic relations and overflights to French army bases further south in Africa.

Macron and Tebboune will discuss the situation in Algeria's southern neighbor Mali, as well as the growing regional clout of Russia, Algeria's top arms supplier.

France's latest efforts to mend ties comes as Algeria moves to fill a vast shortfall in gas supplies to Europe following Russia's military operation in Ukraine.