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إدارة الموقع

Will France Renegotiate the 1968 Agreement Under Macron’s Second Term?

Mohamed Moslem / English version: Dalila Henache
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Will France Renegotiate the 1968 Agreement Under Macron’s Second Term?

The former French ambassador to Algeria, Xavier Driancourt, returned to detail in a previous statement that caused great controversy in political and media circles when he said that Algeria is seen in the decision-making wheels in Paris as an internal French affair.

After reviewing his previous statement, the former French diplomat said: “The French ambassador in Algeria usually deals with the past. There is the issue of memory, but he is undoubtedly preparing for the future… As for our diplomacy, Algeria is the subject of our foreign policy, just like Ukraine or China. But it is also a subject of interior politics, given that 10% of the French population has a connection to Algeria”.

Driancourt, who served in Algeria as an ambassador twice, the first between 2008 and 2012, and the second between 2017 and 2020, spoke about some of the backgrounds that were behind last year’s abusive reasoning of the French President Emmanuel Marcon when he questioned the existence of an Algerian nation before the French occupation in 1830.

“I imagine that Emmanuel Macron had a goal, which is to reactivate the draft “Treaty of Friendship” between the two countries, or at least seize the opportunity to normalize relations with Algeria. He relied on Benjamin Stora’s report, He began with his statement in 2017, in which he described colonial practices as “crimes against humanity” that France supposedly committed in February 2017, when he was still a candidate for the Elysee, but later realized that he had not received any “return” from his Algerian interlocutors”, Driancour explained in an interview with Le Figaro Vox that was published on its news website.

“After the publication of the Stora report in January 2021, the Algerian advisor (at the Presidency of the Republic) in charge of archives and memory, Abdelmadjid Chikhi, for example, declared that (the report) is a “French-French problem”, without further comment. The Algerian side’s lack of response left President (Macron) disappointed concerning Algeria, hence Emmanuel Macron’s recent statements (in October 2021) about Algeria’s “trading in the memory file”, he added.

Regarding the Algerians’ opinion about his country, the former ambassador said: “For the Algerians, France is the former colonizer that we criticize, but it is also the neighbouring country, where everyone has a brother, a grandmother, a cousin… It is also a visa, a chair in the French high school in Algiers or the Sorbonne…”, but he ignored to say that many of the problems that Algeria suffers from today are inherited from the dark period of French occupation, which caused Algeria to retreat by light years, as a result of the theft of its wealth, the impoverishment and ignorance of its children and their exile to the ends of the world.

On the other hand, the French diplomat admitted that his country’s policy towards Algeria in the last few years caused it to lose many of the privileges it had enjoyed: “..in 2008, French companies supplied 16% of the needs of the Algerian market, and today the percentage has decreased to 10%. Algerian decision-makers have largely turned to Italy, Spain, Germany and of course Turkey and China..”.

Regarding the 1968 agreement on the movement and residence of persons signed between Algeria and Paris, Driancourt said: “The movement and settlement of Algerians in France were negotiated at a time when efforts were being made to bring foreign labour to France. It was renegotiated three times, but its basic principles and exceptions to common law remain the same. Every time we wanted to change the background, we failed, and today it will be necessary to put the whole apparatus for discussion, but we tend to arrange files related to Algeria, and this point should be discussed with others, to get a real overview of our relationship”.

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