3 October 2021, 01:52 GMT
Algeria recalled its ambassador from Paris, accusing France of unacceptable interference in its affairs.
Algeria said it was responding to statements it described as “irresponsible”, which were attributed to French President Emmanuel Macron, but were not denied.
The French president was quoted as saying that Algeria was ruled by a “political-military regime” with an official history based not on truth but on hatred of France.
The diplomatic row comes days after France reduced the number of visas it issues to citizens of Algeria and other North African countries.
Algeria said in a statement issued by the presidency that it withdrew its ambassador in the wake of media reports about the French president’s statements, which were not denied.
The Algerian presidency statement said: “Following statements that have not been denied, attributed by several French sources to Macron, Algeria expresses its categorical rejection of illegal interference in its internal affairs.”
The statement added that these statements carry an unacceptable attack on the memory of the martyrs of Algeria “who sacrificed their lives and their heroic resistance against the French colonial invasion.”
‘A history not based on facts’
French newspaper Le Monde reported that Macron made critical statements about Algeria during Thursday’s meeting with the grandchildren of figures from the war of independence.
The newspaper reported that Macron said the country was ruled by a “political-military regime”, and described Algeria as having “an official history that has been completely rewritten.”
He said this history was “not based on facts” but “on a hate speech towards France”, according to Le Monde newspaper, although he made it clear that he was not referring to Algerian society as a whole but to the ruling elite.
Macron also spoke about current Algerian politics. The French president was quoted as saying that his counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, was “hostage to an ossified regime.”
“You can see that the Algerian regime is tired, and the movement has weakened it,” he added, referring to the pro-democracy movement that ousted Tebboune’s predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power in 2019 after two decades at its head.
Tension over visas
This is the second time that Algeria summons an ambassador from France.
Algeria recalled its ambassador in May 2020 after French media broadcast a documentary about the movement.
Saturday’s move comes amid tension over a French decision to sharply reduce the number of visas it grants to citizens of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
France said the decision it announced last Tuesday was necessary because the three countries had not done enough to allow illegal immigrants to return.
On Wednesday, the Algerian Foreign Ministry summoned French Ambassador Francois Joyet and handed him an “official protest” note over the visa ruling.
She described the visa reduction as an “unfortunate act” that caused “confusion and ambiguity as to its motives and scope”.