Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister M. Mohamed Benyahia told journalists in Paris on Friday (18 January) that his talks with French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing were very friendly, frank and encouraging.
GV EXTERIOR: Elysee Palace
CU: Algerian flag on limousine
CU: Algerian Foreign Minister Mohamed Benyahia speaking in French.
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Background: Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister M. Mohamed Benyahia told journalists in Paris on Friday (18 January) that his talks with French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing were very friendly, frank and encouraging. M. Benyahia paid a three-day visit to Paris, during which he held talks with the President, Prime Minister Raymond Barre and his French counterpart Francois-Ponchet.
SYNOPSIS: It was the first visit of an Algerian Foreign Minister since 1973. M. Benyahia and President Giscard met for almost two hours at the Elysee Palace.
Later, M. Benyahia reported that the meeting heralded new relations and cooperation between the two countries in the future.
He said the conversations had been very frank, very delicate and very encouraging. They covered the international situation and its implications, particularly the latest developments in the Middle East and Western Asia.
As for their differences over the future of Western Sahara, M. Benyahia said he was pleased to report that there was a possible likelihood of their finding a political solution to that problem.
The delicate problem about Algerian workers in France was debated for some time, M. Benyahia said, and both sides searched for a means of reading and understanding between the diverging points of view. Before his meeting with President Giscard, he had pointed out that France had asked the Algerian workers to come to France as early as the First World War. Then they were called again to help rebuild France after the Second World War. He said Algerians believed that this should entitle those workers in France certain rights. France, for its part can cite the regulations imposed on French residents in Algeria, following Algerian independence.
M. Benyahia said there were certainly contentious problems to be worked out, but that the climate had definitely warmed again between the two countries. M. Benyahia, is well-versed in France-Algerian relations. The forty-eight year old former lawyer was active in the independence negotiations from 1960-1962, and the France-Algerian financial agreements of 1966. According to political observers, he is hard-hitting debater with strong convictions, where the interests of his country are concerned. He is said to be a militant nationalist who goes into politics like others enter religion, and advocates a progressive policy.
In spite the persistent bilateral differences, M. Benyahia's visit was judged by both sides to have broken a good deal of ice and put the two countries on the road to better relations.