On Sunday, Algeria closed its airspace to France over comments reportedly made by French President Emmanuel Macron, which have caused an escalating diplomatic row. The airspace’s closure could affect the French military that uses the Algerian airspace to support its forces in the Sahel. 

In an interview with the AFP news agency, French Armed Forces spokesman, Colonel Pascal Ianni said that “This morning when we filed flight plans for two planes, we learned that the Algerians had stopped flights over their territory by French military planes.”

Ianni added that the closure of Algerian airspace “does not have major consequences for operations or intelligence missions” carried out in the Sahel. However, he did say that the closure of Algerian airspace had “slightly impacted” supply flights in the Sahel, where French troops are battling Islamic jihadists.


Diplomatic Blows

Tensions between the two countries have been increasing. On Saturday, Algeria recalled its ambassador to France using reported comments by French President Emmanuel Macron as an “inadmissible interference” in its internal affairs.

French President Macron was quoted in Le Monde as saying he estimated that after its independence in 1962 Algeria was built on “a memorial rent” maintained by “the politico-military system.” He also added that “the official history was completely rewritten” and “is not based on truths” but on “a speech which is based on a hatred of France.”

“Was there an Algeria nation before French colonization?” Macron reportedly asked.

In response, the Algerian presidency released a statement saying, “Following remarks that have not been denied, which several French sources have attributed by name [to] the president of the French Republic, Algeria expresses its categorical rejection of the inadmissible interference in its internal affairs.” The statement called Macron’s comments “an intolerable affront to Algerians who died fighting French colonialism.”