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France’s Macron in Algeria: Frosty ties, bitter history |NBT News

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President Macron’s visit is an attempt to repair ties between France and Algeria, which hit a record low last year.

French President Emmanuel Macron is due to arrive in Algiers for an official visit in what many see as a thawing of frosty relations between Algeria and its former colonial powers.

A statement from the French president’s office said it was the second visit of President Macron to Algeria, and the three-day visit aims to deepen bilateral ties between the two countries.

As per NBT News, The statement added that the visit would “strengthen cooperation between France and Algeria in the face of regional challenges and continue work to address the past.”

But to move forward, France must take into account its brutal colonial past and its occupation of Algeria, said Youssef Buandel, a professor of political science at the University of Qatar.

“France’s official attitude is ‘no remorse, no apology,'” Buandel told Al Jazeera. “Indeed, Emmanuel Macron believes that ‘repentance is vanity.’ The question naturally arises as to why France took such an attitude,” he said.

Why did relations between the two countries become strained?

  • Relations between Algeria and France quickly soured in October 2021 after President Macron reportedly questioned whether Algeria existed as a state before French colonization. He also accused Algiers’ “political-military system” of rewriting history with its “hate of France” narrative.
  • According to the French daily Le Monde, the comments were made during a meeting between Macron, a descendant of Chalkis, an Algerian who fought on the French side during Algeria’s war of independence, and the descendants of French Algerians.
  • The comments also followed France’s decision to slash the number of get visas it grants to citizens of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.

How did Algeria react to Macron’s comments?

  • Algeria has accused France of “genocide” and recalled its ambassador from Paris in October 2021.
  • The Algerian ambassador’s return to France was conditional on “complete respect for the Algerian state,” Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said at the time.
  • The Algerian government has also banned French military aircraft from entering its airspace.
  • A statement by the Algerian president accused France of the genocide and expressed its “resolute rejection of unacceptable interference in its internal affairs”.

What is Macron’s agenda in Algeria?

  • Brandel said one of the main issues to discuss is energy, with the ongoing war in Ukraine and the need for France and Europe to find alternative gas sources to cope with the coming winter. Considering
  • “President Macron is also eyeing the Algerian market for French products and trying to maintain its position as an important economic partner, especially given China’s growing role and influence,” he added.
  • French restrictions on visas for Algerians could also be on the agenda.

What is the history of the French colonization of Algeria?

  • France occupied Algeria for 132 years, and Algeria won its independence in March 1962 after more than seven years of fierce and bloody war.
  • Algerian officials say 1.5 million died in the war, but many French historians put the death toll at 500,000. Most of those killed were Algerians.
  • On July 5 of the same year, Algeria was officially freed from colonial rule after 99.72% of voters voted for independence in a referendum.
  • France denied any form of colonial-era apology but said Macron would participate in “symbolic acts” aimed at promoting reconciliation.

What is the legacy of French colonial rule over Algeria?

  • The two countries have a complicated relationship, with Algeria often accusing France of interfering in its internal affairs.
  • Macron, the first French president born after the colonial era, admitted in 2018 that France had instigated a system that facilitated torture during the Algerian War.
  • “The perception of colonial violence is a highly contentious issue in France, especially among far-right adherents who have traditionally been ardent defenders of France’s colonial past,” said Brander. said Mr. “As a result, instead of apologizing for its brutal colonial past, France took some steps to glorify its colonial past.”
  • On November 29, 2005, the French National Assembly passed a law glorifying French colonialism, obliging teachers to give favorable accounts of France’s brutal colonial past,” Bouandel said. added.
  • French-Algerians are estimated to be the largest minority in France, but many complain of discrimination.

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