Macron's office: Algeria envoy returning to Paris, spat ends

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PARIS (AP) — Algeria’s ambassador to France, recalled home in February, will be returning to his post in the coming days, President Emmanuel Macron’s office said Friday in a sign that the latest diplomatic spat between the two countries has been resolved.

Ambassador Said Moussi was recalled after a well-known Algerian militant was whisked to France from Tunisia on Feb. 6 with the help of French diplomats, a move that defied an official demand for her to be returned home. Amira Bouraoui also holds French nationality. She was not supposed to leave Algerian territory and authorities in Algiers said her flight to France amounted to an “illegal exfiltration.”

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune informed Macron in a phone call that the ambassador would be returning to Paris shortly.

“This exchange allowed for the lifting of misunderstandings,” Macron’s office said, adding that the two leaders agreed to strengthen communication channels between services concerned to ensure “that this regrettable type of misunderstanding is not repeated.”

Tebboune is expected to make a state visit to France, perhaps in May, making the return of the ambassador and resolution of the spat of particular importance.

Algeria and France have long had delicate relations, marked by 132 years of French colonial rule and a brutal seven-year war that ended with Algerian independence in 1962.

In 2021, Algeria’s then-ambassador Antar Daoud was recalled home for three months in another diplomatic spat — that time over “irresponsible comments” by Macron concerning post-war Algeria.

Macron had reportedly said that Algeria rewrote its official history with a discourse based not on truths but on “a hate of France.” The remarks at the time, made during an encounter between the French president and descendants of people who fought in the Algerian war, were reported by the French newspaper Le Monde and flashed across the Algerian media.