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The Interview

EXCLUSIVE: Algerian President Tebboune says opportunity exists for ‘appeased relations’ with France

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune © FRANCE 24 (screengrab)

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune says there is an opportunity to achieve “appeased relations” with France. He believes that French President Emmanuel Macron is “honest” and has a “clean record” with regard to the colonial past.

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Tebboune welcomes the recent return of Algerian resistance fighters' skulls and hopes for further gestures in this direction. He believes that France has issued a “quasi-apology” for crimes committed during the colonial period and hopes that it will go all the way towards total apologies.

“I feel that with President Macron we can achieve a lot, go a long way towards appeasement, settling issues pertaining to memorials and memory,” Tebboune said. “He is a very honest person, he wants to appease the situation – of course, upholding French interests, and all the while, make it possible for our relations to become natural once again, natural relations between two independent countries.

“And I think that President Macron is very sincere in what he is doing. He is honest and he is very proper from a historical point of view."

Tebboune also revealed that further releases and pardons of prisoners of the “Hirak”, the popular protest movement against Algeria’s ruling elite, were possible.

“We are moving into a period that will require all Algerians to make an effort,” he said. “I think we might not agree on a policy, but we are moving towards a much calmer climate.”

The president hopes to hold a referendum on a new constitution in September or October, if Covid-19 case numbers are low – Algeria currently has over 15,000 cases and 900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

While saying that it is up to the country’s judiciary to do its job, Tebboune said that “for the time being, it’s not on the agenda” for former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be put on trial.

Tebboune denies having been in favour of a fifth term for Bouteflika, who was forced from office in April 2019 after then army chief of staff Gaid Saleh demanded that he leave. Bouteflika’s announcement that he intended to seek a fifth term had sparked the Hirak movement in February.  

Click on the player above to watch the exclusive FRANCE 24 interview.

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