ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — France’s top diplomat sought to smooth over a months-long crisis with Algeria that stirred up colonial-era tensions, paying a visit Wednesday to Algiers, where the countries agreed to resume cooperation toward peace in Libya and on other international issues.
Standing alongside his tense-looking counterpart Ramtane Lamamra, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said his trip was aimed at “renewing a relationship of trust” and “looking to the future to work on the revival and deepening of our partnership.”
Le Drian noted the countries’ “complex history” and said he wanted to “remove misunderstandings.”
Algeria fought a brutal six-year war for independence from 1954 to 1962 after more than a century under French colonial rule. The countries in recent years have had close economic and cultural ties, but relations took a sharp turn for the worse after France sharply curtailed visas for people from North Africa because governments there were refusing to take back migrants refused asylum in France.
Algeria was also incensed by reported comments by French President Emmanuel Macron about Algeria’s pre-colonial history and post-colonial system of government.
In response, Algeria refused permission for France to fly military planes in its airspace, announced the recall of its ambassador from Paris and accused France of “genocide” during the colonial era.
After Wednesday’s talks with the Algerian foreign minister and President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Le Drian said, “The two parties have agreed to resume certain axes of bilateral cooperation and work to remove the blockages.”
The Algerian president had insisted that it was up to France to make the first move.
“No Algerian would accept that I resume contact with those who insulted us,” he told German magazine Der Spiegel last month.