On Wednesday, the French ambassador was summoned to the Algerian Foreign Ministry after Paris’ decision to halve the visas granted to Algerians.
Algeria announced on Saturday, October 3, the “immediate recall for consultations” of its ambassador in Paris, explaining this decision by its “categorical rejection” of statements attributed to French President Emmanuel Macron referring in particular to “a political military system” in power in Algiers.
In a statement, the Algerian presidency said it expressed its “rejection of any interference in its internal affairs”, specifying that it was responding to “undisputed comments that various French sources have attributed by name” to Mr Macron. Due to a “particularly intolerable situation arising from these irresponsible comments”, Algiers ordered “the immediate recall for consultation” of its ambassador in Paris Mohamed Antar-Daoud.
Even before Algiers issued a second press release explaining the brief first announcement via public television, the Algerian media had widely broadcast statements attributed to Mr Macron and published by the French newspaper Le Monde on Saturday, declaring them “acerbic ” and “slipping”.
According to an article relating to a meeting on Thursday between the president and young descendants of protagonists of the Algerian War (1954-1962), the French president estimated that after its independence in 1962 Algeria was built on “A memorial rent”, maintained by “the politico-military system”.
According to Le Monde, Macron also called for “a completely rewritten official history” that is “based not on truths”, but on “a speech based on hatred of France”. Relations between Paris and Algiers were already tense.
On Wednesday, French Ambassador François Gouyette was summoned to the Algerian Foreign Ministry to be notified of “a formal protest” following the Paris decision to halve visas for Algerians wishing to go to France.
In this regard, in the article in Le Monde for the attention of his young interlocutors, Mr Macron underlines that the reduction of visas will have “no impact” on students and business circles. On the other hand, he adds, the idea is “to annoy people who are in the mainstream” and “apply for visas easily”.
In response to a young girl who grew up in Algiers, Mr Macron assures, according to Le Monde, not to think that there is a “hatred” against France “of Algerian society in the depths, but of the political-military system that was built on this memorial rent”.
Mr Macron is said to have said: “We see that the Algerian system is tired, the Hirak (the pro-democracy movement, at the origin of the 2019 resignation of the President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, recently deceased, editor’s note) weakened him.”
In his exchange, Mr Macron is said to have assured “a good dialogue with the President (Algerian, Abdelmajid) Tebboune”, but he is said to have added: “I see that he is trapped in a system that is very difficult”.
Entitled “Macron in vitriol on the” Algerian system “”, the French-language media 24H Algeria estimated that the French president “like all “historians” and “intellectuals” had spoken of the right and the far right, allergic to any questioning of the French colonial “heritage” and of the recognition of the massive colonial crimes committed in Algeria and elsewhere in Africa”.
The private newspaper El Watan devotes its Sunday front page to “Macron’s slippage”, with a line in which he believes that “the French president has strongly criticized Algerian leaders”.
For local media, another passage in Mr Macron’s statements is a point of contention. “Was there an Algerian nation before French colonization? That is the question,” the French president wondered, recalling that there were “previous colonizations.” Before saying to himself, according to Le Monde, “fascinated to see Turkey’s ability to make people totally forget the role it played in Algeria and the domination it wielded”, in reference to the Ottoman Empire.
Statements attributed to the French president have also sparked a storm on social media, with many linking Mr Macron’s statements to the presidential campaign in France “To mow the grass under (Eric) Zemmour’s feet”, a polemical journalist who walks the boundaries of the far right and says he is determined to be a candidate.