Head of the French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, elaborated on the files he discussed with Algerian officials during the visit that led him to Algeria, but he did not talk about the real file for which he paid this visit, namely, the details of the release of the French hostage in Mali, Sophie Pétronin.
According to identical sources, the French official’s visit to Algeria aimed at smoothing out the atmosphere with Algeria, which received with great anger, the provision of a ransom worth millions of euros by France and the release of about 206 al-Qaeda terrorists who are active in the Sahel region, and who included some Algerians who are wanted by the Algerian justice, because they have dual Algeria-Mali nationalities.
Algeria is considered the owner of the proposal to criminalize giving ransoms to the hostage-takers, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2014, and this proposal came, as is known, in response to the funds disbursed by more than one European country, in the form of a ransom in exchange for the release of European hostages kidnapped in the Sahel region, and Mali specifically.
Identical media sources, such as the Russian news agency “Sputnik” and the ” Al-Arab” daily newspaper that is published in London, stated that the French Foreign Minister visited Algeria as the envoy of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, to explain the French position regarding the reasons for the release of the French hostage in Mali.
The French daily newspaper “Le Monde” quoted one of the mediators in the hostage Petronin’s case as saying that 6 billion CFA francs, equivalent to about 9.1 million euros, were spent, in addition to the release of 206 jihadists.
According to the Russian agency, the head of the French diplomacy was assigned by the Elysee Palace to provide the necessary clarifications to Algerian officials regarding the release of the terrorist organization’s jihadists, a measure that is considered a threat to the security of Algeria, which has a land border with its southern neighbour that extends over a length of 1,200 km, noting that the Algerian resentment of such practices is not born today, and it goes back to more than a decade.
The Russian Agency, quoting Algerian sources who did not reveal their identities, ruled out that the French official had managed to dispel the annoyance of the Algerian authorities at what Paris had done in Mali, despite his praise for President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s efforts to rebuild state institutions through the referendum on the constitution.
One of the signs of Algerian anger at Paris, according to Sputnik, is the postponement of the visit that was supposed to lead the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, to Algeria, who was supposed to arrive at the end of the week from Morocco.
The daily newspaper “Al-Arab” said, “The release of the aforementioned number of jihadists constitutes a new burden on Algeria’s efforts in the war on terror that it is waging on the southern border and a contribution to feeding terrorist activity in the region and the world in general, and negotiating with these groups under the pretext of protecting the lives of the victims is a form of normalization with them and submission to their demands”.
The newspaper talked about a divergence in the visions between the Algerians and the French regarding what is happening in Mali, which hindered “the realization of an identical approach despite the rapprochement and the continuous contacts between them”, especially with the emergence of guilty French intentions that began to appear since the French army toppled the leader of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Abdelmalek Droudkal, in Mali without involving Algeria.