Algeria recalls ambassador to France as tension mounts

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Algiers, Oct 2 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – Oct 3, 2021): Algeria decided on Saturday to recall its ambassador to France for consultations, as diplomatic tensions mount with Paris.

The move comes after French President Emmanuel Macron made critical remarks about Algeria published in the French daily Le Monde in which he said the former French colony was ruled by a “politico-military system”.

“Algeria recalls its ambassador (Mohamed Antar-Daoud) from Paris for consultations,” state television said, citing a presidential statement.

He said a longer statement would follow to explain this decision.

Le Monde quoted Macron on Saturday as saying Algeria has an “official history” that has been “totally rewritten”.

He said this story was “not based on truths” but “on hate speech against France,” according to Le Monde.

“Was there an Algerian nation before French colonization,” Macron reportedly asked.

Macron also spoke about current Algerian politics. His counterpart Abdelmajid Tebboune was “trapped in a very harsh system”, declared the French president.

“You can see that the Algerian system is tired, it has been weakened by the Hirak,” he added, referring to the pro-democracy movement which forced Tebboune’s predecessor, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to power in 2019 after two decades at the head.

The remarks, widely reported by the Algerian media, came during a meeting earlier this week between Macron and relatives of personalities of the Algerian war of independence.

This is the second time that Algeria has recalled a French ambassador.

Algiers also recalled its ambassador in May 2020 after the French media broadcast a documentary on Hirak.

Saturday’s decision comes amid tension over France’s decision to sharply reduce the number of visas it grants to Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian citizens.

France said the decision, which it announced on Tuesday, was made necessary by the former settlements not doing enough to allow the return of illegal migrants.

The Algerian Foreign Ministry summoned French Ambassador François Gouyette to Wednesday and handed him a “formal protest” note regarding the visa decision.

He called the visa reduction an “unfortunate act” which caused “confusion and ambiguity as to its motivation and scope”.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita called the French decision “unjustified”.

Tunisian President Kais Saied expressed disappointment at the move in a telephone interview with Macron on Saturday, his office said, adding that the French leader said it could be revised.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told Europe 1 radio on Tuesday that the visa reduction decision was “unprecedented”.

Paris made this choice, he said, because Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia “refuse to take back nationals that we do not want or cannot keep in France”.

The radio said Macron made the decision a month ago after diplomatic efforts with the three North African countries failed.


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