INTRODUCTION: The French President, Francois Mitterrand arrived in Algiers on Monday (30 November), to begin a two day official visit.
1. GV Mitterrand and party walk down steps of aircraft at Algiers airport 0.02
2. GV Band on tarmac as Mitterrand walks along red carpet (2 shots) 0.20
3. GV Guard of honour with flag as Mitterrand walks past (2 shots) 0.47
4. GV Mitterrand introduced to reception party on tarmac by Algerian President Chadli Benjedid (2 shots) 0.56
5. GV Two countries' flags and crowds on route from airport (2 shots) 1.00
6. GV Motorcade passes through streets as Chadli Benjedid and Mitterrand wave from car 1.16
7. GV Crowds look on as motorcade arrives at Presidential palace 1.20
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Background: ALGIERS, ALGERIA
INTRODUCTION: The French President, Francois Mitterrand arrived in Algiers on Monday (30 November), to begin a two day official visit. Officials said it was aimed at easing a bitterness in relations that has lasted nearly 20 years since Algeria gained independence from France. On Tuesday (1 December) President Mitterrand emphasised the reason for his visit when he told Algeria's National Assembly the 'past is past' and the two countries should look to the future.
Mr. Mitterrand's visit to Algiers was only the second time a French President has visited the country since its independence in 1962 after an eight year guerilla war. The first Presidential visit was made six years ago by Valery Giscard d'Estaing. That had little effect on bilateral relations, despite it being hailed at the time as the start of a new era of cooperation an understanding. On Monday, soon after arriving at Algiers airport President Mitterrand established the tone of his visit with a speech saying he was sure France and Algeria intended to overcome the obstacles and misunderstandings which had hindered mutual understanding.
The French leader was welcomed by Algeria's Head of State. Chadli Benjedid and the entire Algerian cabinet. From the airport the two Presidents drove straight to a symbolic wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of Houari Boumedienne. Algerian's leader from 1965 until his death in 1978. Thousands of Algerians lined the route -- in some places people stood five deep on the pavements. The welcome was said to have been unprecedented for a foreign head of state.
Source: REUTERS - MOHAMMED MENDIL