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French President Macron visits Algeria to revive relations | Emmanuel Macron news

Relations soured last year after Emmanuel Macron’s comments on Algeria’s history led to a diplomatic rift.

French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Algeria next week in a bid to improve strained relations between Paris and Algiers.

Macron has accepted an invitation from Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, his office said on Saturday. This will be Macron’s second official visit to the North African country after a brief one in December 2017 at the start of his first term when Abdelaziz Bouteflika was still president.

Franco-Algerian relations hit a low end late last year after Macron questioned whether Algeria existed as a nation before the French invasion and accused its “politico-military system” of rewriting the history and to foment “hate towards France”.

Algeria withdrew its ambassador in response, but the two sides appear to have since reconciled.

“This trip will contribute to deepening forward-looking bilateral relations… to strengthening Franco-Algerian cooperation in the face of regional challenges and to continuing the work of resolving the past,” the French presidency said in a statement after an appeal. between Macron and Tebboune.

Macron is due to visit the former French colony from August 25-27.

The North African country gained independence from France after a grueling eight-year war, which ended with the signing in March 1962 of the Evian Accords.

On July 5 of the same year, days after 99.72% voted for independence in a referendum, Algeria finally freed itself from colonial rule – but the memories of 132 years of occupation continue to haunt ties with France.

second trip

Algeria’s war of independence claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. French historians say half a million civilians and combatants died – including 400,000 Algerians – while Algerian authorities insist that 1.5 million were killed.

But six decades later, despite a series of gestures from Macron, France has ruled out any form of apology for the colonial period.

The French presidency has announced an upcoming visit as Algeria reels from devastating forest fires exacerbated by climate change.

Fires in northeastern Algeria have killed 38 people and ravaged more than 10% of a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve.

While the fires in the northeast have been largely extinguished, firefighters fought two blazes in the far west on Saturday, Algerian civil defense said.

Macron offered the help of ground and aerial firefighting services from Tebboune France, the presidency said.

Thanks to its large natural gas reserves, Algeria has also recently become a focus of attention for the European Union in its efforts to reduce imports from Russia.

Macron’s trip will be the French president’s second to Algeria as head of state, and will take him to both the capital Algiers and the second city of Oran.

Tebboune, Bouteflika’s former prime minister, won presidential elections in 2019 after mass protests forced his aging predecessor to resign.