French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Algeria on Thursday hoping to repair fractured relations with a nation whose oil and gas reserves have new strategic significance because of Europe’s looming energy crisis.
His visit comes after a long period of tension over conflicting memories of Algeria’s bloody war of independence.
Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris late last year over it.
But both countries have since signalled their desire for a reset.
According to the Elysée palace, President Macron has “made the choice to orientate this visit towards the future… and lay down the basis for a relaunching of the relationship”. He is travelling with a 90-person delegation of ministers, business leaders and sports personalities,
Diplomatic tensions frayed last October when he accused the “politico-military system” in power in Algiers of “cashing in on memories” [of the war] to justify its existence.
A month earlier France had angered Algeria – as well as neighbouring Morocco – by sharply reducing the number of travel visas it issues. This was in response to claims that both North African countries were obstructing the repatriation of nationals found to be in France illegally. (BBC)