France and Algeria pledge to relaunch relations after breakup

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Algiers (AFP) – French and Algerian presidents have pledged to “relaunch” relations after a week-long diplomatic break that led to the recall of the Algerian ambassador to Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron met on Tuesday with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune by telephone to discuss the coronavirus crisis and the conflicts in Libya and the Sahel, the Elysee said.

They expressed themselves “in a spirit of friendship” and “mutual respect for the sovereignty of others” and “affirmed their willingness to work together for the stability and security of the region,” he said.

“They also agreed to work for a peaceful relationship and an ambitious revival of bilateral cooperation in all areas.”

Algeria said the two sides agreed to “give a positive boost” to relations “on a lasting basis capable of guaranteeing mutual common interest and full respect for the distinctive character and sovereignty of each of the two countries” .

The telephone interview appears to have ended a diplomatic crisis triggered by the broadcast on French television of documentaries on the anti-government protest movement “Hirak” in Algeria.

Algiers recalled its ambassador to Paris, Salah Lebdioui, for consultations, denouncing one of the films for “attacks on the Algerian people and their institutions”, including the army.

Earlier in the year, Tebboune called for “mutual respect” in Franco-Algerian relations, saying that his country “will not accept any interference or guardianship” from abroad.

The leaders agreed to coordinate their efforts to restore security and stability in the region with regard to Libya and the Sahel region, added the Algerian statement.

Algeria’s neighbor, Libya, has been mired in the conflict since the overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, two rival administrations and several militias currently fighting for power.

France and five countries in the Sahel – including three of Algeria’s immediate neighbors – pledged earlier this year to step up efforts against jihadists carrying out an increasingly deadly insurgency.

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