Ties with Algiers have change into extra vital for Europe due to growing demand for gasoline amid the battle in Ukraine.
President Emmanuel Macron mentioned France and Algeria ought to transfer past their “painful” shared historical past and look to the longer term as he started a three-day go to to the previous colony.
“Now we have a fancy, painful widespread previous, and it has at occasions prevented us from trying on the future,” Macron mentioned after assembly Algerian counterpart President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Thursday.
Talking at a press convention, Tebboune responded by saying the go to yielded “encouraging outcomes” and he hoped it could “open up new views for partnership and cooperation with France”.
He mentioned they mentioned the right way to deliver stability to Libya, the Sahel area, and the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
French colonial rule in Algeria and the bitter independence battle that ended it in 1962 have haunted relations between the 2 international locations for many years.
Ties with Algiers have change into extra vital for Paris due to the battle in Ukraine growing the demand in Europe for North African gasoline, in addition to surging migration throughout the Mediterranean.
European nations are seeking to Algeria — Africa’s largest gasoline exporter with direct pipelines to Spain and Italy — to finish their dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.
In the meantime, Algiers is searching for to capitalise on greater vitality costs to lock in European funding.
Macron has tried a number of occasions to show the web page with its former colony. In 2017, earlier than his election, he described French actions through the 1954-62 battle that killed a whole bunch of hundreds of Algerians as a “crime towards humanity”.
The declaration gained him recognition in Algeria however was politically controversial in France, which is house to greater than 4 million folks of Algerian origin.
Nonetheless, he provoked a storm in Algeria final 12 months when he dominated out issuing an official apology and recommended Algerian nationwide id didn’t exist earlier than French rule.
He additionally appeared to accuse Algeria’s ruling elite — which continues to be dominated by the era that fought for independence — of rewriting the historical past of the independence battle primarily based on a hatred of France.
Algeria withdrew its ambassador for consultations and closed its airspace to French planes, complicating the French navy mission within the Sahel.
Earlier than assembly with Tebboune, Macron visited a monument to Algerians killed within the battle, putting a wreath there. He mentioned the 2 governments would set up a joint committee of historians to check archives of the colonial period.
French historians say half one million civilians and combatants died throughout Algeria’s bloody battle for independence, 400,000 of them Algerian. The Algerian authorities say 1.5 million have been killed.
Tebboune’s workplace mentioned in October greater than 5.6 million Algerians have been killed through the colonial interval.
Algerian human rights teams have urged Macron to not overlook abuses by the federal government that got here to energy after longtime chief Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down in 2019.