PARIS/ALGIERS – Algeria has closed its airspace to French military aircraft, the French military said on Sunday, in the biggest row between the countries in years.
A spokesman for the French armed forces said Algeria had closed its airspace for two flights, but it would have “no major consequences” for operations in the Sahel region, south of Algeria.
The Algerian government and military were not immediately available for comment on the airspace closure.
On Saturday, Algeria attributed its ambassador to Paris to French President Emmanuel Macron, who was quoted in Le Monde as saying that Algeria’s “politico-military system” made the history of its colonization by France on grounds of “hatred of France”. But it was written again. “
The Algerian government did not specify which of Macron’s remarks prompted the recall of its ambassador, but it accused him of interfering in Algerian internal affairs.
Macron was also quoted as questioning whether the French were an Algerian nation before colonial rule. Algeria gained its independence from France in 1962 after a bloody military conflict.
An Algerian government source said the remarks about Algeria’s existence as a nation had sparked particular anger.
Since independence, Algeria’s ruling elite has been drawn largely from veterans of the War of Liberation from France.
A former Algerian minister said, “We understand that Macron is on the campaign and he wants to get right-wing support in every way possible, such as insulting the history of Algeria… This is unacceptable to us.” France has a presidential election next April.
The row comes on top of tensions last week when France said it would reduce the number of visas available to citizens of Maghreb countries – drawing a formal protest from Algeria.
France has about 5,000 troops in the Sahel region, south of Algeria, fighting alongside regional forces against Islamist militant groups, mainly in Mali and Niger.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times