The visit that led the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, to Germany to participate in the Berlin Conference on Libya, was an opportunity to inaugurate his first meetings at the level of presidents with a number of his counterparts, in his capacity as President of the Republic since his election more than a month ago.
President Tebboune met with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the sidelines of the Berlin summit. He also met French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had invited him to visit Germany.
The meeting between Tebboune and Erdogan did not spare much ink, as it came in line with the trends of bilateral relations that are characterized by calm and stability.
The Turkish Foreign Minister, Meslüt Çavuşoglu who visited Algeria about two weeks ago, received an invitation from President Tebboune to his Turkish counterpart to visit Algeria, a call that was made in a timely manner.
The developments showed after that, that the Algerian and Turkish parties share the same position regarding the Libyan crisis, both of them strongly reject the fall of the capital Tripoli, in the hands of the forces of retired general Khalifa Hafter, and called for the necessity of stopping the fighting and resorting to a peaceful solution, another factor that strengthened this convergence.
However, what is interesting in the matter is the meeting that brought Tebboune with his French counterpart, Macron as such an encounter came at a time when relations between Algeria and Paris have been witnessing a stalemate, for nearly a year, because of the anger on the French side with the developments that Algeria experienced, and their close ties with the former president’s regime as many observers, suggest that Abdelaziz Bouteflika, had for years been a protector of the interests of the former colony.
And what is read in the eyes of observers is that there is an evolution in relations between the two countries through a forthcoming visit of French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, on Tuesday to Algeria, a visit that may be a quick “French initiative” after Presidents Tebboune and Macron meet in Berlin to settle the apparent “differences”.
The differences between Algeria and Paris reached a level of deterioration to the point that they hindered even the work of the French ambassador in Algeria, Xavier Driencourt, who was rumored to have asked his president to replace him with another diplomat, because he was unable to carry out his diplomatic duties properly due to the oversight of his movements, against the backdrop of the “suspicious meeting”, which was unveiled by the Ministry of National Defense last year, and which brought together (Said Bouteflika, General Tewfiq, General Tartag, General Khaled Nezzar and Louisa Hanoune …) thus prompting military justice to condemned them to stiff penalties ranging from 15 to 20 years in prison.
The estrangement between the Algerian authorities and their French counterparts continued even after the election of President Tebboune, despite the hastening of various great powers and brotherly and friendly countries to congratulate the new Algerian president, but Paris used an unusual diplomatic tone immediately after the electoral process, which raised many hovering questions before President Macron took the initiative a week later, to congratulate his Algerian counterpart in a phone call.
Another problem that in turn contributed to the poisoning of bilateral relations is the Paris stance on the Libyan crisis, so that it chose to stand by the party that is fueling the crisis in the eastern neighboring country, through its military support for the rebellious general, Khalifa Haftar, who was viewed by Algeria with suspicion because of his military adventures.
France turned Hafter into a puppet in the hands of external forces in a bid to promote their interests at the expense of the pain and ordeal of the Libyan people.
And in the absence of any leaks from what happened between the two heads of state behind the closed doors, the question that any follower of Algerian-French relations can ask is, to what extent can a meeting with his fellow counterparts in the German capital contribute to venting the tension that characterizes bilateral relations?