French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that he hoped relations with Algeria could be pacified after a dispute over visas and critical comments from Paris towards Algiers.
“My wish is to calm down because I think it is better to speak up and move forward,” Macron told France Inter broadcaster, adding that his relations with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune were “truly cordial.”
Over the weekend, Algeria withdrew its ambassador from Paris and banned French military aircraft from its airspace, which France regularly uses to reach its forces fighting jihadists in the Sahel region.
That came after a bitter visa dispute, followed by media reports that Macron had told descendants of Algeria’s war of independence that the North African country was ruled by a “political-military system. “that he had” totally rewritten “his story.
Algiers was also angered last week after France said it would drastically reduce the number of visas it grants to citizens of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
Paris said the decision had been necessary because the former colonies did not do enough to allow illegal immigrants in France to be returned.