Algeria says envoy to France to resume duties

Algeria's president Friday signed the country's new constitution into law, his office said. (File/AP)

Algeria’s ambassador to Paris is to return to his post after he was recalled in October following comments by French President Emmanuel Macron that Algiers deemed offensive, the presidency said Wednesday.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Wednesday met with the envoy, Mohamed Antar-Daoud, announcing that he “will resume his duties in Paris from Thursday,” his office said in a statement.

FILE PHOTO: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune at a past press conference in Algiers. /Getty Images

Relations between Algiers and Paris have been strained for much of the six decades since the former French colony won its independence after a 130-year occupation.

Macron has gone further than his predecessors in owning up to French abuses during the colonial era.

But ties collapsed in October after he accused Algeria’s “political-military system” of rewriting history and fomenting “hatred towards France”.

In remarks to descendants of independence fighters, reported by Le Monde, Macron also questioned whether Algeria had existed as a nation before the French invasion in the 1800s.

As well as recalling Antar-Daoud, Algiers also banned French military planes from its airspace, which they cross to fly to the Sahel region where troops are helping to battle jihadist insurgents.

The Algerian president had warned in November he would not take “the first step” to calm tensions.

The dispute prompted a rare expression of contrition from the French presidency, which said it “regretted” the misunderstandings caused by the remarks.

Last month, France’s top diplomat Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Algiers and called for an easing of tensions.

Le Drian on that visit said Algeria was an “essential partner for France”, and that he hoped the two countries “will return together to the path of a peaceful relationship and look to the future”.

No deal was announced during that visit for any resumption of French flights over Algeria.