French foreign minister arrives in Algeria in bid to ‘relaunch relationship’

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French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in Algeria on Wednesday on his first visit since Algeria recalled its envoy to Paris in October, Algerian Ennahar TV reported.

The former French colony had recalled its envoy to Paris and closed its airspace to French military planes, citing comments attributed to President Emmanuel Macron that Algeria’s rulers had rewritten the history of its colonization based on “a hatred of France.”

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Le Drian is making a “working visit, to evaluate and relaunch the relationship”, a French foreign ministry source, who asked not to be named, told AFP, adding that Le Drian had already arrived in the country.

The source said that during the visit, which was only revealed at the last moment, Le Drian would hold talks with his counterpart Ramtane Lamamra but also, crucially, be received by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Le Drian’s presence in the country and his meeting schedule were also confirmed by Algerian official media.

Relations between Algeria and France are currently enduring one of their toughest periods in recent years, in a situation at odds with President Emmanuel Macron’s determination to take ties with former French colonies into a new era during his mandate.

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