Algeria Summons French Ambassador in Visa Regulation Row

photos taken on July 5, 2021, shows the Algerian flag, on the occasion of the 59th anniversary of Independence Day (Photo by Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Algerian foreign ministry summoned the French ambassador on Wednesday to protest Paris’ decision to reduce the number of visas granted to Algerian nationals, according to an official statement.

France on Tuesday had said it would sharply reduce the number of visas granted to people from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, accusing the former French colonies of not doing enough to allow illegal immigrants to return.

French ambassador Francois Gouyette was handed “a formal protest” from Algiers which called the visa reduction an “unfortunate act” that caused “confusion and ambiguity as to its motivation and its scope”.

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Morocco has described France’s decision as “unjustified”.

Unlike its neighbours, Tunisia has not reacted officially, but many of its citizens displayed their concern on Wednesday in front of the offices of TLS Contact, the only private company authorised to receive applications for France.

On Tuesday, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal disclosed that it was “a drastic decision, and unprecedented, but one made necessary by the fact that these countries are refusing to take back nationals who we do not want or cannot keep in France”.

According to him, French President Emmanuel Macron took the decision a month ago after failed diplomatic efforts with the three North African countries.

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