Portuguese / Spanish / English

Algeria: Demands to stop suspicious moves by French ambassador

French ambassador to Algeria Francois Gouyette [MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images]

There have been several demands for an official move-in Algeria against "suspicious meetings" held by French ambassador Francois Gouyette, described as an intervention in local affairs, at a time when President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is absent from the political scene due to illness.

On Thursday evening, Deputy of the Algerian parliament and member of the National Democratic Rally (RND) bloc Amira Selim published a statement on Facebook, in which she condemned the French ambassador's actions.

MP Selim stated: "The French ambassador is taking advantage of the vacuum in our political scene to spread chaos and incitement, we will not accept a transitional phase at all costs and parliament will stop him."

She added that the ambassador: "Has been receiving promoters of the transitional period at the embassy under the pretext of supporting the right of free political expression and defending human rights."

The deputy continued: "I call for summoning the French ambassador by the Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum in protest of his unacceptable conduct."

READ: Algeria court convicts 4 people of spying for France

The transitional period in Algeria is a term that comes back with every political crisis, with reference to dissolving all elected institutions and replacing them with a Constituent Assembly that drafts a new constitution for the country, before running another presidential and parliamentary election.

Selim added: "The French ambassador must understand that Algeria is not a banana republic."

This controversy coincided with the absence of President Tebboune, who has been in Germany for treatment since 28 October after contracting the coronavirus. According to the presidency, it was announced a week ago that Tebboune had recovered and will return to the country shortly.

Algeria's asking where is President Tebboune – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Gouyette, a veteran French diplomat fluent in Arabic, was appointed as ambassador to Algeria last summer, coming from Saudi Arabia.

Representative of the National Liberation Front (FLN) bloc Kamal Bin Al-Arabi criticised the French ambassador's recent moves in a statement published on Facebook.

OPINION: Algeria's guessing game about its president continues

Bin Al-Arabi indicated: "Frequent media reports, quoting political parties, drew my attention to ongoing suspicious movements and secret meetings held by the French ambassador with political parties and media establishments."

He continued: "I call on the authorities, including the minister of Foreign Affairs, to intervene and verify this information and its details, because this issue should not go unnoticed, as the matter is related to the sovereignty of the Algerian state that should not be touched."

On 7 December, former presidential candidate Abdelkader Bengrina published a statement in which he conveyed: "Since the French President Emmanuel Macron's statement on domestic national issues, many have been calling again for establishing a transitional period."

Bengrina referred to the comments made by Macron to French magazine Jeune Afrique earlier this month, in which he asserted that he: "Supports President Tebboune in leading a transitional phase to help the country overcome its political crisis."

According to Bengrina: "Regardless of the president's health condition, we affirm in the National Building Movement (Elbinaa) that we always support any national consensus for the representative forces of the Algerian nation."

This controversy coincided with official and political statements from Algeria, criticising the French intervention in its domestic affairs, after supporting a European parliament resolution on the human rights situation in the country.

A few days ago, Algerian Minister of Information Ammar Belhimer declared in a statement to the official news agency that his country: "Is being bombarded with verbal attacks from France."

France occupied Algeria between 1830 and 1962. Hence, the reason why Algerians continually ask Paris to "recognise, apologise and compensate" for its colonial crimes against the Algerian people, including the attempt to obliterate national identity, looting the country's resources, torture, murder and conducting nuclear experiments. However, France has refused to apologise and instead called for turning a new page.

Official relations between the two sides have remained tense since Algeria's independence, due to historical disputes and repeated accusations by the Algerian side to Paris of interfering in domestic political affairs.

READ: Algeria to change constitution despite lower than 25% voter turnout

AfricaAlgeriaEurope & RussiaFranceNews
Show Comments
Show Comments