France, Algeria sign declaration of 'irreversible progress' in ties



French President Emmanuel Macron and his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune declared on Saturday, August 27, a "new, irreversible dynamic of progress" in their nations' ties, concluding a visit by the French president aimed at ending months of tensions.

The three-day visit comes less than two months after Algeria marked six decades of independence following 132 years of French rule and a devastating eight-year war.

It also comes as European powers scramble to replace Russian energy imports – including with supplies from Algeria, Africa's top gas exporter, which in turn is seeking to expand its clout in North Africa and the Sahel.

In their joint declaration on Saturday, the two leaders said "France and Algeria have decided to open a new era laying the foundation for a renewed partnership expressed through a concrete and constructive approach, focused on future projects and youth."

At the signing ceremony, Tebboune addressed his guest in French, gushing over an "excellent, successful visit which allowed for a rapprochement which wouldn't have been possible without the personality of President Macron himself."

Ties between Paris and Algiers have seen repeated crises over the years. They had been particularly codl since last year when Mr. Macron questioned Algeria's existence as a nation before the French occupation and accused the government of fomenting "hatred towards France".

Mr. Tebboune withdrew his country's ambassador in response and banned French military aircraft from its airspace.

Normal diplomatic relations have since resumed, along with overflights to French army bases in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr. Macron was in the spiritual home of Rai music on Saturday, visiting a record shop made famous by French-Algerian singer DJ Snake's recent hit of the same name, "Disco Maghreb".

He also met athletes and artists and went for a somewhat chaotic walk in the streets where police struggled with onlookers trying to shake his hand or take photos.