France’s Macron arrives in Algeria on visit aimed at fixing ties

Macron landed at 3.30pm local time at Houari Boumediene Airport

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France's President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Algeria on Thursday for a three-day visit aimed at mending ties with the former French colony, which this year marked 60 years of independence.

Mr Macron landed at 3.30pm local time at Houari Boumediene Airport, where he was received by his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

The two leaders, who wore masks as part of Covid-19 health measures, shook hands and hugged each other at the airport before their countries’ national anthems were played.

After talks with Mr Tebboune at the airport, Mr Macron visited a monument to martyrs of the country's war for independence, which ended more than 130 years of French colonial rule in 1962.

Accompanied by Algeria's top diplomat Ramtane Lamamra, the French president laid a wreath at the site and observed a minute of silence, Algerian state news agency APS reported.

Mr Macron, who will meet entrepreneurs in Algiers as well as young people in Oran, Algeria's second city, is accompanied by a delegation comprising about 90 officials.

His visit comes as Russia's war on Ukraine has caused a gas supply crisis across Europe, increasing the continent's demand for energy supplies from North African producers such as Algeria.

Franco-Algerian relations have experienced repeated crises since independence.

French President Emmanuel Macron talks with Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune at the VIP lounge of the airport in Algiers at the start of his official visit to Algeria. AFP

Last year, the two nations got into a diplomatic spat when the French president accused Algerian leaders of “rewriting history” of their independence from colonial rule.

On his second visit to Algeria since he took power in 2017, the French leader “has chosen to direct this visit towards the future, [focusing on] start-ups, innovation, youth, new sectors”, his office said.

Algerian media said Mr Macron's visit showed both countries' desire for relations built on “a new vision based on equal treatment and balance of interests”.

It also reflected “a recognition of Algeria's central role in the region” and the country's “return to the international scene”.

France is home to about four million people of Algerian origin.

Updated: August 25, 2022, 5:43 PM