France yesterday denied its interference in Algeria’s internal affairs, stressing that it was respecting the African country’s “sovereignty and friendly people,” DPA has reported.
“France has not interfered in the internal affairs of Algeria and has no intention to do so,” the French embassy in Algiers said in a statement.
The Algerian army’s chief of staff, Ahmed Kayed Saleh, recently accused Paris of “indirectly interfering in Algerian affairs.”
In March, the French foreign minister John Yves Le Drian criticised his country’s response to Algeria’s ongoing protests, urging France “not interfere in the affairs of a sovereign country.”
“Paris’ response is biased in favour of the Algerian regime against the popular movement demanding not to extend [Algerian President Abdelaziz] Bouteflika’s fourth term,” he said.
France has been accused of backing the initiatives presented by Bouteflika, one of which has included a proposal to extend the ailing president’s current term despite the protests.
On 2 April, Algeria’s ailing former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down, succumbing to six weeks of mostly peaceful mass protests driven by youth and pressure from the powerful army against his 20-year rule. Bouteflika’s resignation will put Abdelkader Bensalah, chairman of the upper house of parliament, in charge as caretaker president for 90 days until elections are held in July.
Algerians refuse the proposed July election, demanding the departure of all symbols of Bouteflika’s regime.