Angry Algeria recalls ambassador to France for consultations
Algeria has recalled its ambassador to France for consultations after what it called "irresponsible" comments attributed to French President Emmanuel Macron, Algeria's presidency said on Saturday.
"Following comments that several sources attributed to ... Macron, Algeria expresses its categorical rejection of inadmissible interference in its internal affairs," the presidency said in a statement.
"Faced with the particularly inadmissible situation inflicted by these irresponsible remarks, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune decided to immediately recall the ambassador," it said.
The statement said the remarks, which have not been denied by French authorities, are harmful to Algerian martyrs who fought for independence from France, without giving details.
"Those remarks are an intolerable attack on the memory of martyrs," it said.
Tensions mount over visa issue
Saturday's move came amid tension over a French decision to sharply reduce the number of visas it grants to citizens of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
France last week said it would sharply reduce the number of visas granted to people from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, accusing the former French colonies of not doing enough to allow illegal immigrants to return.
Algeria's foreign ministry described the move as a "unilateral decision of the French government".
It called the visa reduction an "unfortunate act" that caused "confusion and ambiguity as to its motivation and its scope".
French ambassador Francois Gouyette on Wednesday was handed "a formal protest" from Algiers which called the visa reduction an "unfortunate act" that caused "confusion and ambiguity as to its motivation and its scope".
Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita has described the French move as "unjustified".
Tunisian President Kais Saied expressed disappointment with the decision in a telephone call with Macron Saturday, his office said, adding that the French leader had said it could be revised.
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told Europe 1 radio on Tuesday that the visa reduction decision was "unprecedented".
Paris made that choice, he said, because Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia "are refusing to take back nationals who we do not want or cannot keep in France".
The radio said Macron took the decision a month ago after failed diplomatic efforts with the three North African countries.
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