France has refused to allow France to fly military aircraft in Algerian airspace. The country also announced that it would recall its ambassador from Paris following what it called “inadmissible comments” made by French President Emmanuel Macron. The French decided to reduce the number of visas granted to North African citizens — including Algeria — as they refuse to accept migrants who have been expelled from France. This led to tensions escalating sharply this weekend. Col. Pascal Ianni, a French military spokesperson, said that France’s request for two military aircraft to fly over Algerian territory Sunday was denied. He said that one plane was to leave France and the other from Chad. Ianni stated that it was not clear if Algeria will close its airspace to the French military completely or if Sunday’s flights would be the only ones affected. He said, “We have not received official notification so we will wait to see.” He said that “the planners are considering how we will adapt.” Algeria had previously approved French flights in the past months. The Algerian presidency announced Saturday evening that the ambassador to France was being immediately recalled. According to the statement, Macron’s recent comments on Algeria prompted the diplomat’s recall. The Algerian presidency stated that the comments were an “inadmissible interference” in Algeria’s affairs, and were “an intolerable offense” to Algerians who had died fighting French colonialism. It stated that “The crimes committed by colonial France in Algeria were innumerable” and that they fit the strictest definitions for genocide. French media reported that Macron had spoken recently about Algeria’s postcolonial system and its attitude to France. Le Monde reported that Macron made these comments at a meeting at The Presidential Palace with French and Algerian grand-children of ex-combatants in Algeria’s 1954-1962 war of independence. Also, people who were affected by the conflict’s aftermath. Le Monde reported that Macron had accused the Algerian authorities, inciting hatred against France. According to the newspaper, Macron also discussed his government’s tightening visas for North Africans. He stated that the visa reduction would be targeted at “people in governance, who have a habit of asking visas easily.” French officials announced that the number of visas granted to Algerians, Moroccans, and Tunisians would be reduced by half and 30% respectively. According to the government, this decision was made in response to refusals by Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia of providing consular documents to their citizens being deported from France for illegally arriving. These three countries were all part of France’s colonial Empire. Many Europe-bound migrants from these North African nations had family or other ties to France. In a statement, the Algerian presidency stated that Macron’s comments were an “intolerable affront [to the memory] of the 5,630,000 valiant Martyrs who gave their lives resisting the French colonial invasion.” It did not explain how Algerian authorities could have come up with such large numbers. The statement added that “nothing or nobody can absolve colonial powers from their crimes.”
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