After three months of crisis, Algiers re-establishes its ambassador in Paris

After three months of absence, the Algerian ambassador will resume his duties in Paris on Thursday January 6, a gesture which should put an end, according to experts, to a serious diplomatic crisis with France on the eve of the 60e anniversary of the end of the Algerian war (1954-1962). Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, “Received on Wednesday the Algerian ambassador to France, Mohamed Antar-Daoud, who will resume his duties in Paris this Thursday, January 6, 2022”, the presidency said in a statement.

Algiers had recalled its ambassador on October 2 in reaction to comments, relayed by The world, of French President Emmanuel Macron, who asserted that Algeria, after its independence in 1962, was built on “A memorial rent” maintained by “The politico-military system”. In front of young people including descendants of harkis, settlers and Algerian independence activists, Mr. Macron also questioned the existence of an Algerian nation before French colonization from 1830.

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Algiers had, in another sign of protest, banned the overflight of its territory to French military planes serving the Sahel, where the troops of the anti-jihadist operation “Barkhane” are deployed. At the beginning of November, Mr. Tebboune had warned that he would not do ” the first step “ to ease tensions. He had estimated that Mr. Macron had “Reopened an old conflict in a totally unnecessary way”, ensuring that the French president had “Insulted” the Algerians.

Turbulences

On November 9, Mr. Macron had let it be known, via an adviser, that he “Regretted the controversies and misunderstandings” with Algeria, and assured to have “The greatest respect for the Algerian nation” and ” his history “. The head of Algerian diplomacy, Ramtane Lamamra, welcomed these statements “Showing respect” to his country and had traveled to Paris to attend the conference on Libya on November 12.

At the beginning of December, the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, paid a visit to Algeria in order to defuse this crisis of rare gravity. During his visit he called for a “Peaceful relationship” so that the two countries “Can look to the future”. However, no agreement had been reached for, for example, a resumption of overflight of Algerian airspace.

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Relations between Paris and Algiers have often known turbulence. The last crisis as serious as that of October dated from February 23, 2005, when the French Parliament adopted a law recognizing a “Positive role of colonization”.

Backpedaling

According to Hasni Abidi, director of the Center for Studies and Research on the Arab and Mediterranean World (Cermam, in Geneva), “Mr. Macron’s backpedaling” then the visit of Mr. Le Drian were “Well received in Algiers and interpreted as a gesture of good will from the French authorities”. With the return of the Algerian ambassador to Paris, “The crisis is behind us”, since there “A desire on the part of Algiers but especially of Paris, on the eve of the 60e anniversary of the Evian agreements [signés en mars 1962], to overcome their differences and build a new relationship based on respect ”, says Mr. Abidi.

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Mansour Kedidir, political scientist and historian, also considers that “It is the beginning of appeasement”. The two countries “Understood that it is in their interest to go beyond discursive errors and to initiate a responsible dialogue”, he said, pointing out “The geopolitical challenges and security threats that arise in the region”. He alludes in particular to the war against the jihadists in Mali and to threats of renewed fighting in Libya after the postponement of a crucial presidential election.

Regarding a resumption of overflight of Algerian airspace by French planes, Mr. Abidi believes that it will be gradual and that there could be first “Partial opening”, starting with medical transport flights. “Algiers wants to proceed as usual, rather by de-escalating and warming relations in stages”, he emphasizes.

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The World with AFP

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After three months of crisis, Algiers re-establishes its ambassador in Paris

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