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Ex-French minister’s ‘arm’ strains ties with Algeria

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Relations have been edgy between Algeria and its former occupier over war crimes during the colonial era, and a recent gesture by the former French defense minister seen by Algerians as insulting has just made those ties worse.

French UMP senator and former defense minister Gerard Longuet was caught on camera giving ‘the arm,’ or the ‘bras d'honneur’ during a talk show to a request by Mohamed Cherif Abbas, Algerian minister of the Moudjahidine (as independence fighters are known) for “an open recognition of the crimes perpetrated ...by French colonialism.”

Khaled Bounedjma, chief of Algeria’s Social Justice Front, responded to Longuet with the same gesture during an interview with “Aljazaer news” (Algeria News).

“I felt bad and was very depressed as this response came just after renewing the demand from France to admit committing crimes during the colonial era in Algeria,” Bounedjma said.

“Not only that, I was tormented by the fact that this former minister committed this act on the eve of the period when the Algerian people remember the most sacred moment of their history. The timing is a major provocation to the Algerian population as well as the Algerian revolution,” he added.

After Longet’s incident, Gilbert Collard from the right-wing nationalist party, “le front national,” acted in the same way and said: “I join my arm to the arm of Gerard Longet.”