France's Macron says gas not main agenda of visit to Algeria

French president announces new decisions on movement of people between 2 countries after Paris reduced visa quota for Algerians.

France's Macron says gas not main agenda of visit to Algeria

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said that gas is not the top agenda of his visit to Algeria.

Instead, he announced fresh decisions regarding the movement of people between the two countries.

"We have taken decisions regarding the movement of people, we are working together on sensitive issues related to security, and we are making new plans for the movement of our artists, athletes, business people and political figures in order to build the broader partnership that we want," Macron told reporters during his visit to the cemetery of St. Eugene in Bologna, northern Algeria.

In September, France reduced the number of visas issued to Algerians by 50%, citing what Paris attributed to Algeria's lack of cooperation on irregular immigration.

Stating that irregular migration has "negative repercussions" on public security, Macron said “we present an approach to facilitate the movement of people linked to the two countries to build communication and cooperation."

Brushing aside the perception that the French leader was visiting Algeria to address its energy needs, Macron said France's energy needs rely only 20% on gas of which Algerian gas constitutes 8%.

"We will try to improve things in the future, but it is not true that Algeria's gas is the main topic of the visit," he said.

In his second visit to Algeria in five years, Macron is accompanied by a 90-person delegation, including ministers, business people and historians.

It also believed that the visit aims to overcome the tension that prevailed between the two countries for nearly a year over multiple colonial era issues, including the remembrance files.

Hüseyin Demir