Algeria to mark 60 years of Independence from France and signing of Evian Accords

Algeria_France

Algeria AlgeriaAlgeria is soon to mark commemoration of its independence from France 60 years ago, but the past six decades have had multiple crises between the two nations. On March 18, 1962 Evian Accords were signed between France and Algeria that put an end to eight years long war of Algerian independence from its occupier.

Algeria has maintained a rather complex relationship with its former occupier which has often been fueled by internal politics. Algeria shared cordial relations with France in the first four decades past its independence, but last two decades have been full of conflicts. In the 1990s, things between Paris and Algiers began to fall apart. “Generally, despite appearances and criticism, there has been a stable, very balanced relationship,” said Luis Martinez, a Maghreb researcher at Sciences Po university in Paris.

The Evian Accords were signed between the then French General Charles de Gaulle. Under his and his successor, Georges Pompidou’s administration, France shared good relations with Algeria. This was also true during administration of Francois Mitterrand even though he was opposed to Algeria gaining independence. “Mitterrand was surrounded by Socialist Party people, who were all pro-FLN,” said historian Pierre Vermeren, referring to the National Liberation Front, which controlled the revolt and since then has dominated Algerian politics.

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France had continued conducting its nuclear tests in the Algerian Sahara up until 1967. de Gaulle had managed to negotiate and secure a secret deal with the new Algerian state post its independence, allowing for chemical weapons tests until 1978. But in 1992, Paris criticized Algiers for suspending elections whose first round was won by Islamist parties. This led to another decade of conflicts in the North African country.

In 1999, president Abdelaziz Bouteflika initiated a way for peace. Though he was close to Paris, he took on the anti-French path, mainly to secure domestic consumption. “To win back control of the ideological and political sphere after the civil war, (the Algerian leadership) ‘forgot’ that France helped had them fight the Islamists,” Vermeren said.

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