London, United Kingdom (CNN)–The French army said that its military planes are prohibited from entering Algerian airspace, amid a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
“This morning, while presenting flight plans for two of our planes, we learned that the Algerians were closing their territory to all French military aircraft,” Colonel Pascal Ianni, a French military spokesman, told CNN on Sunday.
He added that the measure would not have any impact on “the mission of operations and intelligence carried out by France in the Sahel.”
France deploys forces in the Sahel through its counter-terrorism mission (Operation Barkhane), which operates across Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso. Iani added: “This decision by the Algerian authorities affects only our logistical flow, on the sidelines only.”
Algeria recalled its ambassador in Paris for consultations, Saturday, after the country’s presidency said it rejected French “interference”, after what it described as “irresponsible” statements attributed to French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron reportedly made critical statements about Algeria, which were published by the French newspaper “Le Monde” on Saturday, questioning whether there was an Algerian nation before French colonialism. Was there an Algerian nation before the French colonization? this is the question.
Le Monde newspaper said Macron made the remarks during a lunch at the Elysee Palace where he met 18 young people – the grandchildren of those who lived during the war in Algeria.
In a statement, the Algerian presidency said: “In light of this unacceptable situation after these irresponsible statements, the (Algerian) president decided to summon Algeria’s ambassador to France for consultations.”
CNN has contacted the Algerian Ministry of Defense and the Elysee Palace for comment.