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Monte Carlo: France and Algeria are in a new crisis, and Paris is accused of "provocation."



There are many reasons for the new turmoil in the relationship between France and Algeria, including the size of the French ministerial delegation that was supposed to hold an official visit to Algeria before its cancellation at the last time, and what was considered a French "provocation" in the Western Sahara file and the French press's support for the Algerian movement.


According to Monte Carlo International Radio, the Algerian media attacked Paris yesterday, Saturday, after canceling the visit of a French delegation headed by Prime Minister Jean Castex, which was scheduled for the weekend, and this came at the request of Algeria.

The French-speaking Al-Watan newspaper titled its editorial "Dangerous French Actions of Hostility", in which it said, "It is our right to question the dangerous game of the French authorities."


For its part, the Arabic-language newspaper "El Khabar" wrote on its front page, "The postponement of Castex's visit confirms the depth of the gap between Algeria and France," under a major headline, "The estrangement continues."


The visit, which was scheduled for Sunday, was postponed indefinitely, during which the high-level intergovernmental committee was to be held.


Although the Algerian government did not provide any explanation for what happened, identical French and Algerian sources spoke of Algeria’s annoyance about reducing the number of the French delegation to four or three members of the government due to the “health crisis,” which was considered insufficient in Algeria.


The press reported that during the last meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee in Paris in 2017, the Algerian delegation consisted of eight ministers.


Another area of ​​contention is the thorny issue of Western Sahara, over which Morocco has been fighting for decades, and the Polisario Front calling for the region's independence.


The French President's "Republic In Front" party announced Thursday the establishment of a support committee in the city of Dakhla in Western Sahara, the largest part of which is under the control of Morocco. Algeria, which supports the Polisario Front, considers this a red line.


On the same day, Al-Watan newspaper referred to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's emphasis on "France's support for the Moroccan autonomy plan as a serious and credible basis" to settle the conflict, during an interview with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita. This is another Algerian red line.


In an interview with "El Khabar" newspaper, Hosni Abidi, director of the Center for Studies and Research on the Arab World and the Mediterranean Countries in Geneva, said that there was "an anti-Algerian movement that spoiled the visit."


The researcher considered that the French and Algerian narratives on the "health context" about the size of the delegation lack credibility.


Hosni Abidi stressed that the Western Sahara issue is "sensitive" for Algeria, and the decision by Emmanuel Macron's party to open an office in Dakhla, which is within the territories claimed by Polisario, is considered a French "provocation".


The Algerian researcher estimated that "there is an anti-Algerian movement (within Macron's party)" that wants to keep tension between the two countries.


"Al-Watan" newspaper quoted the Algerian ambassador to France, Mohamed Antar Daoud, as saying that "pressure groups are working against an amicable understanding between Algeria and France." These repeated accusations are intended for the extreme right and former supporters of French Algeria.


For its part, "Le Quotidien d'Oran" newspaper (daily Oran) indicated that the Algerian ambassador has not yet presented his credentials to President Macron, "even though he has been in Paris for eight months."


The French-language newspaper indicated that Castex's visit would have witnessed the arrival of "an army of journalists who could have used his visit to focus on the movement's activists," the protest movement which has been calling for two years to change the ruling "regime" in Algeria.


The Algerian authorities restrict the presence of foreign media to cover developments in the country through bureaucratic and opaque accreditation procedures.


The newspaper, which is published from Oran, concluded by saying that "the military has precedence over the politician" in French-Algerian relations, since Paris requested assistance from Algeria in the regional crisis in the Sahel region.


Before announcing the visit of the French Prime Minister, the Algerian Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Said Chengriha, received his French counterpart, General Francois Le Quanter, on a rare visit that had not been announced in advance.


Concurrently, Algerian Labor Minister Hashemi Jaaboub said that France is "our traditional and permanent enemy."

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