Monday, 22 October 2012

French foreign minister visits Algiers

France's Foreign Minister Manuel Valls arrived in Algiers on Saturday 13 October on a two-day visit. He was met at Algiers?s Houari Boumédienne Airport by counterpart Daho Ould Kablia. During his stay he met with several of Algeria's senior ministers, including Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci and Minister of Religious Affairs Bouabdellah Ghlamallah. Valls' visit came before President Hollande's admission of the October 1961 massacre of Algerians and there have been no indications as to whether he gave the Algiers regime any indication of what Hollande mwas to say.

Virtually nothing has been divulged about the purpose of the visit or the content of the talks held, other than platitudinous remarks in press in which Valls hailed the “excellent” cooperation between Algeria and France in anti-terrorism and what he described as the “flawless” commitment of the Algerian authorities in that regard.

It is widely believed that the main purpose of his visit was to discuss the Mali situation. Although Valls stressed his agreement with Algeria on the importance of Mali?s territorial unity and the danger of terrorism in that country, France and Algeria are fundamentally at odds over how to resolve the crisis. While France is at the forefront in pushing for international military intervention and is offering military logistical support for such an intervention, Algeria is strongly opposed to any such intervention, arguing instead for a political situation. Valls said, on his departure on Monday 15 October, that France supported “all political processes that would allow Mali to preserve its territorial integrity.”

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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