Algeria has banned French military planes from its airspace amid tensions over visas and contentious comments attributed to the French president, the French army told AFP on Sunday.
Colonel Pascal Ianni told AFP that the army found out this morning about the ban when it submitted flight plans for two aircraft. He added that the ban won’t affect France’s operations or intelligence missions in the Sahel.
Algeria on Saturday recalled its ambassador to France, citing reported comments by French President Emmanuel Macron as an “inadmissible interference” in its internal affairs.
“Following remarks that have not been denied, which several French sources have attributed by name to [Macron], Algeria expresses its categorical rejection of the inadmissible interference in its internal affairs,” the Algerian presidency said, according to an AFP report.
Le Monde earlier quoted Macron as saying that Algeria’s “political-military system” had “completely rewritten” history in a way that’s “not based on truths,” but on a “discourse, which, it must be said, is based on a hatred of France.” According to the report, Macron, who was meeting with descendants of people who played a part in the war of independence, also questioned whether there had been an Algerian nation before the French colonization, pointing at “previous colonizations.”
The French president’s remarks were “an intolerable attack on the memory of martyrs,” who fought for independence, the Algerian presidency said.
The row follows France’s decision to slash the number of visas on offer for Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian citizens, blaming the countries’ refusal to take back illegal migrants.