President Valery Giscard d'Estaing has become the first French President to set foot in Algeria since its independence.
President Valery Giscard d'Estaing has become the first French President to set foot in Algeria since its independence. He arrived in Algiers on Thursday (10 April).
Algerian President Houari Boumedienne was at the airport to greet him.
The French President declared on arrival: "Historic France salutes Independent Algeria."
He referred to the eight years of war in Algeria which claimed about a million lives and led to independence from France 12 years ago. But, he said, the past could not be forgotten.
The French President also referred to ways of improving relations between the two countries. He said it was a question of recognising the president, preparing for the future, and working together.
The visit came during a period of calm in what was described as "often ten-stormy" relationships between the two countries since Algerian independence, scarred by disputes ranging from nationalisation moves to compensation payments for former French resident ... and the plight of Algerian immigrants in France.
About 300,000 people, mainly children, lined the route from the airport to give President Giscard d'Estaing and his wife a warm welcome as they drove to the former France Governor's Palace in Algiers, where they stayed for two nights.