France's President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he hoped to ease tensions with Algeria after a deepening spat between the two countries saw French warplanes banned from Algerian airspace.
In comments to the public broadcaster France Inter, Macron called for further dialogue and praised his relationship with Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
"My wish is for a calming down because I think it's better to talk and to make progress," Macron said, describing his relations with Tebboune as "truly cordial".
What is behind French-Algerian tensions?
Over the weekend, the North African country recalled its ambassador from Paris for consultations and said it would no longer allow French military planes in its airspace.
The move came after France said it would slash the number of visas issued to Algerians, followed by reports that quoted Macron saying the former French colony had "totally re-written" its history based on its "hatred of France".
Paris has maintained the decision on visas was necessary due to Algeria's failure to facilitate the return of its illegal migrants from France.
During his presidential term, Macron has sought to deescalate tensions with Algeria linked to colonial history, while being more transparent about France's colonial legacy.
For example, Macron has apologized on behalf of the French government for abandoning some 200,000 Algerian fighters who fought on its side during the nation's war of independence, after failing to keep promises to take care of them.
In 2018, he admitted that France had created a "system" that facilitated torture during Algeria's war for independence.
How does airspace closure impact France?
France uses Algeria's airspace to deliver support to its ground troops while carrying out military operations targeting insurgents in the Sahel region of northern Africa.
There are around 5,000 French troops fighting Islamist insurgents in Mali and Niger. France has said the military operations in the region will conclude in early 2022.
go/wmr (Reuters, AFP)