22 December 2013

Algeria: Hollande's Algeria Joke 'Light Humour' Say Entourage

The French president's office on Sunday attempted to play down talk of a diplomatic incident with Algeria, describing a comment made by François Hollande's as 'light humour'.

On 16 December, Hollande had told a gathering of Jewish groups in Paris that his interior minister, Manuel Valls, had returned from a visit to Algeria "safe and sound", adding in a jocular tone, "that's saying something".

Hollande's entourage called the comment a gentle joke "which could have been about anybody in any country and had no particular meaning concerning Algeria".

The comment was not well-received by Algerian newspapers and on social media networks.

The Algerian government said the comments detracted from the links between the two countries but seemed keen not to overplay their importance.

"We ended 2012 with the brilliant success of François Hollande's state visit to Algeria. 2013 is not yet over, we do not wish to end on a bad note so we hope in the coming days to find a way to turn the page on this regrettable incident", said Algeria's Foreign Affairs minister Ramtane Lamamra.

But Farouk Ksentin, of Algeria's government-run Human Rights Commission, the CNCPPDH, called on Hollande to apologise for his "provocative" remarks.

In France, Hollande was also criticised by political opponents. On the left one described the comment as nauseous, while a right wing politician labelled the comment "out of order".

Copyright © 2013 Radio France Internationale. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.