Following Algeria‘s independence from France 60 years ago, French President Emmanuel Macron is traveling there for a three-day official visit to address two pressing issues: fostering future economic ties and attempting to mend colonial-era wounds.
The trip takes place less than a year after a protracted diplomatic standoff between the two nations that heightened post-colonial tensions and as the war in Ukraine has solidified Algeria’s position as a major gas supplier to the European Union.
In an effort to calm the still-hostile relations between the two countries, Macron has recently taken unprecedented efforts to recognise torture and killings committed by French troops during Algeria’s 1954–1962 war of independence. But despite numerous symbolic steps, France has not yet apologised for its role in the war, as Algeria has long demanded.
Abdelmajid Tebboune, the president of Algeria, and Macron will have a meeting on Thursday at the presidential El Mouradia palace. He stated that the trip will help “deepen the bilateral relationship” in a phone conversation with Tebboune on Saturday, according to the Elysée. In response to catastrophic wildfires in eastern Algeria, he expressed France’s assistance.
Macron has visited Algeria twice since becoming president. He advocated for a “relationship between equals” during a brief stay in December 2017. Months before, while campaigning for president in Algiers, he referred to colonization as a “crime against humanity.”
The horrific seven-year war of independence in Algeria ended in 1962, and Macron, the first French president born since then, has promised to right the wrongs of the colonial era. France ruled over the nation for 132 years.
In 2018, Macron acknowledged French government involvement in the 1957 murder of Maurice Audin, an Algerian dissident, and for the first time acknowledged systemic torture by the military during the conflict. In addition to other actions, he later made a crucial choice to expedite the declassification of war-related secret papers.
In the presence of the head of the French army, the defense minister, and the foreign minister, Macron will meet with Tebboune again on Friday to discuss peace and stability in the region.
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