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إدارة الموقع

Algerian Authorities “Sovereign” in Granting or Rejecting Visas to Pieds Noirs Associations

Hacene Houicha /  English version: Dalila Henache
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Algerian Authorities “Sovereign” in Granting or Rejecting Visas to Pieds Noirs Associations

The Algerian authorities are “sovereign” in their decision to grant or reject visas to members of the Pied Noir associations to visit the country under the pretext of caring for European cemeteries (Christian and Jewish), the French Foreign Ministry said.

This position came from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs through a response to a written question in the National Assembly dated February 6, 2024 -a copy was checked out by Echorouk- which was directed by the MP of the National Rally (formerly the National Front), Aurélien Lopez Liguori, regarding Algeria’s attitude towards Pieds Noirs associations, claiming the Algerian consulates refusal to grant entry visas to some members of the Pieds Noirs associations within what is known as the collective for safeguarding cemeteries in Oran (western Algeria).

The French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs stated in its response, saying, “The commitment of the collective for Safeguarding Cemeteries in Oran to the preservation and maintenance of European cemeteries in Algeria is honourable and necessary. The regular organization of trips to visit and observe the situation of these cemeteries is valuable. However, France cannot interfere in the issuing decisions taken sovereignly by the Algerian consular authorities”.

The Quai d’Orsay considered that the French authorities are “nevertheless keen to support, today and in the future, all the actors involved in promoting the historical heritage uniting France and Algeria”, noting that “promotion of the exceptional funerary heritage of European cemeteries constitutes one of the priorities of the Algiers Declaration, signed on August 27, 2022, by the President of the Republic and his Algerian counterpart.”

The response of the French Foreign Ministry refuted the allegations of the Pieds Noirs associations, by affirming that the work carried out as part of the 5th session of the high-level Franco-Algerian intergovernmental committee on October 9 and 10, 2022, made it possible to trigger a positive dynamic in this context”, explaining that “an expert has since travelled to Algeria and will draw up recommendations aimed at strengthening the maintenance of cemeteries.”

The French Foreign Ministry’s response concluded by confirming that “The preservation associations, through their experience and their mobilization, cannot be excluded from the dialogue maintained between the French and Algerian authorities in matters of maintenance and preservation of cemeteries.

Returning to the Written question no. 12734 from RN’s MP Aurélien LOPEZ-LIGUORI on Algeria’s attitude towards pied-noir associations it claimed that Algerian consulates granted visas to about half of the members of the Pieds Noirs association, specifically 32 visas were authorized to make the trip, under police escort.

“The situation is all the more unfair and shocking as the rejected members were unable to obtain any explanation for the rejection of their application, nor reimbursement for the refused visa”, the French MP added, explaining that “copies of the complaints made by members to the consulates concerned were sent to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, without response or reaction to date. The MP therefore asks the Minister how France intends to react to the “unworthy” and “humiliating” treatment reserved by Algeria for the pieds-noirs associations. He also asks if France intends to apply “reciprocity measures”, for example by in turn restricting its visas for Algerian nationals”, as if the granting of visas to Algerians has never been restricted to add more restrictions, here we wonder if this MP is aware of the measures imposed by the French authorities on Algerians and the huge number of visa rejections and restrictions (with and without reimbursement since decades), or if he intends “as the tradition of his party” to poor more oil onto fire on Algerian-French relations.

Previously, the newspaper “Le Journal du Dimanche” reported that the Algerian consular authorities in France refused to grant visas to 57 members of the Pieds Noirs associations who wanted to visit European cemeteries in the city of Oran.

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