Visit of the French Prime Minister on Sunday in Algiers amid bilateral warming

Visit of the French Prime Minister on Sunday in Algiers amid bilateral warming
Visit of the French Prime Minister on Sunday in Algiers amid bilateral warming
French Prime Minister Jean Castex will visit Algeria on Sunday, a new step in the bilateral rapprochement initiated by Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Matignon announced Thursday.

Jean Castex will co-chair with his counterpart Abdelaziz Djerad a high-level intergovernmental committee (CIHN), a body which meets regularly to take stock in particular of economic cooperation between the two countries.

However, this committee has not been held since December 2017 due to the popular protest movement of the “Hirak” which led to the fall of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019 and then to the health crisis linked to Covid-19.

After tensions during the popular uprising of the Hirak two years ago, Emmanuel Macron opted for open support for President Tebboune, whose election at the end of 2019 was massively rejected by the population and who remains contested in the street, support which arouses criticism within the pro-democracy movement.

Lire aussi: Algérie: le pouvoir hausse le ton contre les manifestants du Hirak

“The Prime Minister’s visit is part of the re-engagement of the relationship desired by the two presidents,” said Jean Castex’s entourage at the Hotel Matignon, welcoming the “context of warming” between the two countries.

However, it was delayed by the Algerian President’s hospitalization twice in Germany in late 2020 and early 2021 for complications related to Covid.

The meeting was finally scheduled despite the new wave of coronavirus, which fully mobilizes the executive and complicates any international travel, so as not to stay too close to the anticipated legislative elections scheduled for June 12 in Algeria.

“Jean Castex wished to maintain it to testify to the commitment of France and to make a gesture of friendship towards Algeria”, one notes in Matignon.

“The two presidents have initiated a resumption of the Franco-Algerian relationship, in a new climate of trust. This was to result in the resumption of bilateral contacts and in particular through this CIHN ”, we add.

Due to the constraints of the health crisis, however, the visit will only last one day and the ministerial delegation will be smaller than in previous editions.

This will be the first real bilateral trip for Jean Castex since his installation in Matignon in July 2020. He has so far only visited Brussels and Chad for a visit to the French forces deployed in the Sahel.

The two Prime Ministers will address “all aspects of the bilateral relationship” – economic, security, education and culture – and sign agreements in “a few areas of cooperation”, it was indicated in Paris without further details.

With the approach of the 60th anniversary of the end of the Algerian War (March 19, 1962) and of the independence of Algeria (July 5, 1962), Emmanuel Macron has undertaken a series of “symbolic acts” in order to “Reconcile memories” and sketch a normalization in a relationship that remains complex and passionate.

Lire aussi: Algérie: nouvelle manifestation étudiante pour la libération de détenus

He recognized in particular, “in the name of France”, that the lawyer and nationalist leader Ali Boumendjel had been “tortured and assassinated” by the French army and decided to facilitate access to classified archives on the Algerian war. .

Algiers, for its part, is demanding the restitution of archives linked to colonization and “all the light” on the Algerians who disappeared during the war – which it estimates at 2,200 – as well as compensation for the victims of French nuclear tests in the Algerian Sahara.

Emmanuel Macron’s actions are part of the memorial recommendations of historian Benjamin Stora, whose report was criticized in Algeria because he does not notably recommend an “apology” from Paris.

The Algerian head of state reaffirmed Sunday that the national memory “cannot be the object of renunciation or of bargaining”.

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