Emmanuel Macron looks to boost security, economic co-operation between France and Algeria

French President Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference during his visit to Algiers

French President Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference during his visit to Algiers

Macron arrived in Algiers Wednesday, stressing that he had come as "a friend of Algeria, a constructive partner who wants to strengthen our links". They were to discuss the situation in neighboring Libya, as well as fighting extremism in the Sahel region of Africa, according to the French presidency.

Macron said he was "not a hostage of the past" and wanted to "turn towards our future together".

With a few symbolic gestures, the French president tried to demonstrate his good will. He laid a wreath at a monument in central Algiers to those killed in the war, and walked through the center of the capital, talking with passersby. The skulls are now stored at the Museum of Mankind in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he wants to "return African heritage to Africa", at the end of his inaugural speech at the University of Ouagadougou, building up Benin's hopes of recovering its cultural heritage after months of negotiations with France.

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For President Talon, who has advocated against the influence of France on its former colony, the return of these works will "better inform our people the value of our cultural and historical assets" and enrich tourism, which is a major pillar of the Beninese economy.

Despite the French assertions, the relationship between Paris and Algeria has always been very precise and the Franco-Moroccan relations overlap with it, forcing Paris to be able to balance between Rabat and Algeria.

But in an interview with Le Point a year ago, he declared: "Sure, in Algeria, there was torture, but also surged a State, wealth, a middle class - that is the reality of colonization".

In a recent trip to west Africa, Macon also called for "neither denial nor repentance", stressing that "we can not remain trapped in the past".

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