Accompanied by a large delegation comprising seven ministers, the Head of State will be welcomed when he gets off the plane by his counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, around 3:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. GMT).

The two presidents will then go to the Monument des Martyrs, a high place of Algerian memory of the war of independence (1954-1962) facing France, before a tête-à-tête and a dinner at the presidential palace.

The visit coincides with the 60th anniversary of the end of the war and the proclamation of Algeria’s independence in 1962.

Determined to direct this visit towards “youth and the future”, Mr. Macron will also meet young Algerian entrepreneurs before going to Oran (west), the country’s second city, renowned for its spirit of freedom, embodied by the Rai in the 80s.

This is the second time that Mr. Macron has visited Algeria as president, after a first visit in December 2017, at the very beginning of his first five-year term.

Relations between the two countries then looked promising with a young French president, born after 1962 and freed from the weight of history, who had described French colonization as a “crime against humanity”.

– “Political necessity” –

But they quickly petered out, overtaken by memories that remain difficult to reconcile after 132 years of colonization, a bloody war and the departure of a million French people from Algeria in 1962.

Mr. Macron has multiplied memorial gestures, acknowledging the responsibility of the French army in the death of mathematician Maurice Audin or nationalist lawyer Ali Boumendjel during the “Battle of Algiers” in 1957.

He denounced “inexcusable crimes” during the massacre of peaceful Algerian demonstrators in Paris on October 17, 1961.

But the apologies Algiers expected for colonization never came, thwarting Mr. Macron’s memorial outstretched hand and adding to misunderstandings and frustrations.

In October 2021, remarks by the French president accusing the Algerian “polico-military system” of surfing on “memorial rent” and the Head of State’s questions about the existence of an Algerian nation before colonization ended consume the break.

Mr. Macron has since made amends and the two presidents have decided to put the partnership between the two countries back on track.

“Given the risk of instability in the Maghreb, the conflicts in the Sahel and the war in Ukraine, improving relations between France and Algeria is a political necessity,” said Algerian political scientist Mansour Kedidir.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine at the end of February, Algeria, one of the world’s top ten gas producers, has been in high demand by Europeans in a hurry to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.

Algerian gas is “really not the object of the visit”, however assures the Elysée.

The two presidents will notably discuss the situation in Mali, from where the French army has just withdrawn, and the growing Russian influence in Africa.

Algeria plays a central role in the region due to its thousands of kilometers of borders with Mali, Niger and Libya. It is also close to Russia, its main arms supplier.

The issue of visas granted by France will also be at the heart of the discussions, Emmanuel Macron having decided in 2021 to halve them in the face of Algiers’ reluctance to readmit undesirable nationals to France.

President Macron, on the other hand, will not highlight the work of memory, which remains complicated on both sides of the Mediterranean.

In the streets of Algiers, the question of memory has made him lose a good part of his capital of early sympathy.

“In 2017, before he was president, he spoke well, he made his visit, but just after his return to France, he changed, he gave another speech,” laments Othmane Abdellouche, 62, computer science doctor.

“Macron we say welcome to Algeria, if the interests are common, we agree, if they are only on the (French) side then it’s no”, adds Remdhan Elbaz, 60, a retiree.