03.06.2020 Algeria

France, Algeria pledge to relaunch relations after rift

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The French and Algerian presidents have pledged to "relaunch" relations after a week-long diplomatic rift that led to the recall of the Algerian ambassador to Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone Tuesday with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune, discussing the coronavirus crisis and conflicts in Libya and the Sahel, said the Elysee Palace.

They spoke "in a spirit of friendship" and "mutual respect for the others' sovereignty" and "affirmed their willingness to work together for the stability and security of the region," it said.

"They also agreed to work towards a peaceful relationship and an ambitious relaunch of bilateral cooperation in all areas."

Algeria said both sides agreed to "give a positive boost" to relations "on a sustainable foundation capable of guaranteeing mutual common interest and full respect for the distinctiveness and sovereignty of each of the two countries".

The phone talk appeared to put an end to a diplomatic crisis triggered by the broadcast on French television of documentaries on the "Hirak" anti-government protest movement in Algeria.

Algiers had recalled its ambassador in Paris, Salah Lebdioui, for consultations, denouncing one of the films for "attacks on the Algerian people and its institutions", including the army.

Earlier in the year, Tebboune had called for "mutual respect" in Franco-Algerian relations, saying his country "will not accept any interference or tutelage" from abroad.

The leaders agreed to coordinate on working to restore security and stability in the region in regards to Libya and the Sahel region, the Algerian statement added.

Algeria's neighbour Libya has been mired in conflict since the 2011 ouster of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with two rival administrations and multiple militias currently struggling for power.

France and five Sahel nations -- including three of Algeria's immediate neighbours -- pledged earlier this year to bolster efforts against jihadists waging an increasingly deadly insurgency.

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