It seems that the upcoming visit of the French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, to Algeria, is not on the agenda of the Algerian authorities, at least for the time being. Despite the pressure exerted by the media leaks in Paris and even here in Algeria to feel the pulse, the date of January 18 will not be the right date.
Castex’s visit to Algeria, which was scheduled according to media leaks before the end of last year, will not be scheduled on time (January 18, 2021). This is reported by the French website “Africa Intelligence”, which did not indicate whether the visit was postponed or cancelled.
Weeks ago, the leaks “that are innocent” talked about the visit of an important French delegation led by the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, to Algeria, a visit that may end the coldness that characterized bilateral relationships for nearly two years. However, these leaks soon return to lying to each other, which is likely the hypothesis that the French side sought to feel the pulse of the Algerian authorities, and the extent of its willingness to receive this delegation, and then to re-normalize these relationships.
The source which said that Castax would have travelled to Algeria, accompanied by the Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister for Armed Forces, Florence Parly, the Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, and the Economy Minister, Bruno Le Maire, justified not holding the visit on the specified date, with considerations related to the “agenda”, but he did not indicate whether this agenda is Algerian or French.
This postponement comes at a time when Algeria is witnessing a remarkable diplomatic movement, realized by the visit of the US Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East and North Africa Affairs, David Schenker, at the head of a large delegation, last weekend, and the visit of the commander of the Mauritanian armies, Mohamed Bemba Makit, and the phone call between the Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad and his Tunisian counterpart, Hichem Mechichi, in preparation for President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s visit to the eastern neighbour, which raises more than one question about the reasons behind the failure to expedite the visit of Castex, which was programmed months ago.
Algerian authorities’ silence about the visit of the French official indicates that Algeria is not ready to receive Castex for the time being, at least, and this means, among other things, that something is hindering this visit that Paris seeks to embody as soon as possible to restore bilateral relationships, which have been greatly damaged during the past two years due to the resentment of the Algerian authorities at what they considered frequent French political and media provocations.
There are many unresolved issues between Algeria and Paris, chief among them the memory file, which was and still is poisoning bilateral relationships because the French side evaded its historical obligations (apologizing for the crimes of colonialism), and even the initiative made by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, to work for reconciliation at the level of the memory with the former colony seems to lack seriousness and will, and this has demonstrated Macron’s inability to confront hostile lobbies to establish stable and equitable relationships with Algeria.