Absence of French apology not to hamper relations with Paris, Zerhouni says

Absence of French apology not to hamper relations with Paris, Zerhouni says

Ech-Chorouk, December 04, 2007

Algerian interior minister Nourredine Yazid Zerhouni said the absence of an official French apology for colonial crimes committed in Algeria “will not hinder us to crystallise a new vision for Algerian-French relations.”

“In France like here in Algeria, we had to believe in possible friendship,” Zerhouni told AFP Tuesday on day two of a state visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Algerian interior minister expressed Algeria’s relative satisfaction at the development of the official French position regarding this issue.

He considered Sarkozy’s comments denouncing colonialism as a step in the right direction. However, Yazid Zerhouni stressed that it is not enough when these remarks are taken in context.

On the other hand, Zerhouni said the uneasy bilateral relationship between Algeria and France was due to a delay in reaching a compromise on France’s historical past.

“For a long time, we have not wanted to deeply look into the colonial period. The situation is more complicated and there have been more doubts in view of the communication absence,” he added.

In a statement reported by the Algerian news agency APS, Zerhouni denied any misunderstanding between Algeria and France as “both sides understand the problems and the limits of each other.”

The interior minister asserted that there are people in Algeria and France who are still convinced of the necessity of establishing a strong friendship and efficient solidarity between the two countries.

Recent remarks made by Algeria’s Minister of War Veterans, Mohamed Cherif Abbas sparked a diplomatic row between Algeria and France which required the personal intervention of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The Algerian interior minister Nourredine Yazid Zerhouni accompanied the visiting French president to a suburban hotel conference hall in Algiers on Monday where Sarkozy delivered a speech before Algerian and French businessmen.

President Bouteflika most likely authorised Zerhouni to deal with Algerian-French relations all the more so as Pt Bouteflika had made it clear that foreign policy is reserved for the president of the republic and his representatives.


Story by : Mohamed Meslem / Translated by : Halima Nine