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Terminal in Algeria to give "new impetus" to Franco-Algerian rapprochement

This is the first trip abroad for the French Prime Minister, who will begin her journey with memorial gestures.

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Terminal in Algeria to give "new impetus" to Franco-Algerian rapprochement

This is the first trip abroad for the French Prime Minister, who will begin her journey with memorial gestures. Like President Emmanuel Macron during his visit at the end of August which, after months of tension, made it possible to warm up relations between the two countries.

Mrs. Borne will lay a wreath at the Monument des Martyrs, a high place of Algerian memory of the war of independence (1954-1962) facing France, as well as at the Saint-Eugène cemetery in Algiers, where many French people born in Algeria.

However, nothing is expected during this visit on the sensitive question of the memory of colonization and the war in Algeria.

The French and Algerian presidents announced in August the forthcoming installation of a commission of historians from both shores, but it is "still in the process of being set up", according to Paris.

The head of the French government should during this trip meet the Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, with whom Mr. Macron had concluded on August 27 a "renewed partnership" around six axes which remain to be concretized.

- "Economic cooperation" -

Ms. Borne will also chair on Sunday, with her Algerian counterpart Aïmene Benabderrahmane, the meeting of the 5th High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN), the last edition of which dates back to 2017, where it will mainly be a question of “economic cooperation”.

Whatever its outcome, the holding of the CIHN in itself "is already a step forward" in the political dialogue, welcomes Hasni Abidi, director of the Center for Studies and Research on the Arab and Mediterranean World (Cermam) in Geneva.

A visit to Algiers with a few ministers had been planned for April 2021 but postponed at the last minute, in a context of strained relations with Algeria.

The CIHN must be concluded by the signing of "agreements", which will not necessarily be business contracts and will relate to training, energy transition, economic cooperation, youth and education, as well as the sovereign.

It is for Paris to give a "new impetus" to the Franco-Algerian relationship "to turn it towards the future towards concrete projects".

However on the other delicate question of visas, "the discussions have not yet succeeded", said Matignon on Thursday.

At the end of August, the presidents of the two countries paved the way for a relaxation of the visa regime granted to Algeria, in exchange for increased cooperation from Algiers in the fight against illegal immigration.

This question has poisoned the bilateral relationship since France halved the number of visas granted to Algeria, which was deemed not prompt enough to readmit its nationals expelled from France.

- No gas -

On gas, the visit of Mr. Macron, accompanied by the president of Engie Catherine MacGregor, had generated a lot of expectations on deliveries of Algerian gas to France, in the context of a scarcity of Russian gas in Europe.

But this file "is not on the agenda" of the visit, according to Matignon, while "discussions continue" between Engie and the Algerian group Sonatrach, according to a source close to the file.

Ms. Borne takes with her only one large group, Sanofi, which has an insulin factory project, and four SMEs, Générale Energie, which plans to build a plant for recycling and processing olive pits. , Infinite Orbits, which has a project for Algeria's first microsatellite, Neo-Eco, which works on the treatment of waste such as asbestos, and Avril, which specializes in the processing of cereals.

For its part, Business France, a public structure responsible for international investment, is taking dozens of companies to the Franco-Algerian Business Forum, which will be inaugurated on Monday by the Prime Ministers of the two countries.

Another axis of the visit, the youth, whom Ms. Borne will meet Monday at the French high school then at the embassy, ​​with representatives of Algerian civil society.

“If it is neither a question of memory, nor of security, nor of our supplies, what will be the use of a trip of such magnitude?” Opposition MP LR Michèle Tabarot wondered on Friday.

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