French President Emmanuel Macron has concluded his trip to Algeria by signing the Algiers Declaration with his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune. With this agreement, Macron achieves his main objective of the visit to the North African country: to strengthen ties with his former colony after years of turbulent relations.
In their joint declaration, the two countries announce the beginning of "a new era" and lay the foundations "for a renewed partnership through a concrete and constructive approach focused on future projects and youth", reports France24.
During the signing of the document, Tebboune described Macron's visit as "excellent and successful" and said that the trip allowed for a rapprochement "that would not have been possible without the personality of the French president himself".
For his part, Macron noted that during his days in Algeria he was able to address "all the sensitive issues" between the two countries and welcomed the signing of the Algiers Declaration, an agreement that, in the French president's words, will foster a "permanent dialogue on all issues, including those that have prevented us from moving forward".
During Macron's term in office, bilateral relations between Algiers and Paris reached the height of tension in autumn last year, when the French leader accused the Maghreb country of fomenting hatred towards France. In response to the controversial statements - Macron also pointed out that Algerian history was not based on truths - Tebboune decided to withdraw its ambassador from Paris and closed its airspace to French military aircraft.
However, ties began to improve earlier in the year through several phone calls between the two presidents that allowed the Algerian ambassador to return to France. Subsequently, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Algeria's independence in July, Macron sent a letter to Tebboune in which he expressed his desire to 'strengthen the already strong ties between France and Algeria'.
Macron's trip to Algeria and the signing of the joint declaration comes shortly after the last French soldiers left Mali for good and in the midst of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This rapprochement also comes at a time when European countries are trying to reduce their energy independence from Moscow by seeking new alternatives.
"At the moment, France needs Algeria more than Algeria needs France, which doesn't have much to offer," Geoff Porter of North Africa Risk Consulting told Sud Ouest. Porter notes that, in contrast, "Russia gives Algeria almost everything it asks for". Relations between Algiers and Moscow have not deteriorated since the war began. Indeed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited the North African country in May, while Algeria's chief of staff, Said Chengriha, recently participated in a Moscow-organised conference on international security.
Algeria, while strengthening its ties with Russia - its main arms supplier - also maintains energy cooperation with Europe. As Al-Arab notes, Tebboune's government 'finds itself in a dilemma between its commitment to its traditional alliance with Russia and its need for gas export revenues to Europe'.