Tuesday, January 18

Diplomacy. The Algerian ambassador returns to Paris this Thursday, a sign of appeasement with France

After three months of absence, Mohamed Antar-Daoud, the Algerian ambassador, resumes his functions in Paris on Thursday. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced this gesture on Wednesday in a statement.

Algiers recalled its ambassador on October 2 in reaction to comments relayed by the newspaper The world, of French President Emmanuel Macron who affirmed 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, Emmanuel Macron also questioned the existence of an Algerian nation before French colonization from 1830. Algiers had, in another sign of protest, prohibits the overflight of its territory to French military planes serving the Sahel, where the troops of the anti-jihadist operation Barkhane are deployed.

France’s first step in November

At the beginning of November, Abdelmadjid Tebboune warned that he would not take “the first step” to ease tensions. He had estimated that Emmanuel Macron had “reopened an old conflict in a completely useless way”, assuring that the French head of state had “insulted” the Algerians. On November 9, the French president 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 “its history”. Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra welcomed these statements, “showing respect” to his country, and 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 also 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.

The beginning of appeasement

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 had adopted a law recognizing a “positive role of colonization”.

According to Hasni Abidi, director of the Cermam research center in Geneva, “the back-pedaling of Mr. Macron” then the visit of Mr. Le Drian were “well received in Algiers and interpreted as a gesture of goodwill by the French authorities”. With the return of the Algerian ambassador to Paris, “the crisis is behind us” since there is “a will on the part of Algiers but especially of Paris, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Evian agreements (for a cease-fire, signed in March 1962, editor’s note), to overcome their differences and build a new relationship based on respect ”, declared Mr. Abidi. Mansour Kedidir, political scientist and historian, researcher associated with Oran, also considered that “it is the beginning of appeasement”.


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