Algeria has accused its former colonial ruler France of “genocide” and announced the recall of its ambassador from Paris, angered by “unacceptable” comments attributed to French President Emmanuel Macron.
The sharp escalation in tension follows a French decision to reduce the number of visas issued to people in North Africa – including in Algeria – as governments there refuse to take back migrants deported from France.
A statement from Algeria’s presidency on Saturday evening announced the immediate recall of the Algerian ambassador from France for “consultation”.
The statement said the recall was inspired by recent comments about Algeria that were attributed to Macron. The Algerian president said the comments amounted to “unacceptable interference” in Algerian affairs and an “unbearable disgrace” to the Algerians who died fighting French colonialism.
“The crimes of colonial France in Algeria are numerous and fit the strictest definition of genocide,” the statement alleged.
French media reported that Macron recently spoke about Algeria’s post-colonial regime and its attitude towards France. The newspaper Le Monde said Macron made the remarks on Thursday at a meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhavan with French and Algerian grandchildren of former fighters in Algeria’s 1954-62 independence war from France and those affected after the conflict.
In his report from the meeting, Le Monde said that Macron accused the Algerian authorities of spreading hatred for France. The French leader also spoke of his government’s hardening of visas for North Africans, according to the newspaper report, saying the reduction in visas would “target people in the regime’s sphere of influence who had the habit of simply asking for visas.”
French officials announced that the number of visas granted to Algerians and Moroccans would be cut by half, and to Tunisians by 30%. The government said the decision responded to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia’s refusal to provide consular documents for its citizens being deported from France after arriving illegally. The three countries were part of the colonial empire of France, and many immigrants from Europe and other visitors from those North African countries have family or other ties to France.
The Algerian presidency said in its statement that Macron’s remarks “are an unbearable disgrace to the memory of the 5,630,000 brave martyrs who laid down their lives in their heroic resistance to the French colonial invasion.”
It states that “nothing and no one can absolve the colonial powers of their crimes.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /