Visit of the French Prime Minister in Algeria

Historical Meeting between Manuel Valls and Abdelaziz Bouteflika

April 14th, 2016

On the 9th and 10th of April, Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, visited Algeria and met its President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The meeting was as controversial as fruitful because the Algerian government refused visas to some French journalists. The issue has stirred up a controversy and many French media agencies chose not to attend the meeting at all. Indeed, the Algerian government explains that “a respectable journal violated the honor and the prestige” due to the President, therefore the journalists of the French medias Le Monde and Le Petit Journal were not granted visas. The journals put the picture of Abdelaziz Bouteflika along with the other heads of states involved in the Panama Papers financial scandal although the president's name never appears on the documents. The Prime Minister expressed his sadness for the French medias, but clang to his position that the visit to Algeria was crucial.

Manuel Valls went to Zéralda to meet president Bouteflika in his medical residence for his health is very poor.  He said that he came to deliver a message from the French President, François Hollande, who wants to develop a “very special collaboration with Algeria”. This meeting is a milestone in the relationship between France and Algeria; although it has always been tumultuous, many agreements have been signed last weekend.

Manuel Valls evoked the “cooperation of the two countries to cope with the terrorist threats” and mentioned that they had come to agreements regarding Libya, Mali and the occidental Sahara. The Prime Minister also mentioned a “new shareholders pact” to enlarge the manufacturing of train equipment jointly owned by France and Algeria and the decision to create another jointly owned factory specialized in phosphates. He explained that if those agreements were signed, others are still “maturing”.

Even though some medias have questioned the legitimacy of supporting a president who starts his 4th presidential term in a row, this meeting could be the first stone of better relationships between Algeria and France.

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Cultural Diplomacy News
Julie Essertel, CD News