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France-Algeria: Bypassing Algerian Government – A Report

The checkered relationship between France and Algeria is making news again in France. In a diplomatic report, described as explosive, and devoted to France-Algeria relations, a French deputy recommends “non-governmental diplomacy” because of the obstacles posed by the Algerian power. His report risks making Algerian leaders cringe.

In this 70-page document, Frédéric Petit (MoDem), deputy for the 7th constituency of French people established outside France, and rapporteur for the budget for cultural or influential diplomacy, advised the French government to rely on society Algerian civil society instead of the Algerian government.

Each year, the MP takes an interest in France’s relations with a chosen country. After Egypt, Lebanon, Georgia, Israel and Palestine, Frédéric Petit’s cursor headed towards Algeria with which relations are troubled, tinged with incomprehension, expectations, susceptibilities, unhealthy hypocrisies and above all are completely intertwined.

Neither reliability nor stability

The problem does not only lie in the colonial past between the two countries and the tumultuous relations maintained, but beyond that, Algeria is not a reliable country regardless of the president in place. The political-military regime as it is, the power struggle, clanism at all levels, weak institutions, mean that Algeria is de facto an interlocutor with whom the discussion is complicated for any other country.

The deputy thus explains in clear words the reasons for the discussion and the impossible mutual trust between Algiers and Paris. He speaks of “the instability, illegibility and precariousness of the (Algerian) administration, including at the highest hierarchical levels”, which makes it difficult to know the right interlocutors and those who have a power.

Frédéric Petit explains that in Algeria all those in charge, including ministers, cannot make decisions for “fear of settling scores” and reprisals.

The parliamentarian visited Algiers and Oran from September 18 to 20 and met French diplomats and members of Algerian civil society. He was able to conclude that there were “permanent blockages in the bilateral relationship” and noted a relationship “which appears as abundant on a human level as it is dysfunctional on a political level”.

According to him, “any strictly institutional approach seems to come up irremediably, in Algeria, against constantly renewed obstacles which find their origin in the very organization of the Algerian State”.

Non-governmental diplomacy

As a result, he recommends that French diplomatic efforts be focused instead on “non-governmental” diplomacy, to allow France to continue to have influence in Algeria. He cites in particular Algerian youth, entrepreneurs and the diaspora who are levers of influence in the hands of French diplomats.

He also noted that cooperation projects initiated by France were refused by Algeria, but were favorably received when they were initiated by the European Union. Thus, the MP recommends that the French ambassador in Algiers have the mission of “mobilizing as a priority the processes of European cooperation”, so as to use the cover of the European Union to convey means of influence in Algeria.

This article is originally published on fr.hespress.com

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