PARIS, Aug 20 — French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Algeria next week in a bid to improve strained ties between Paris and Algiers, the French presidency said in a statement Saturday.

“This trip will contribute to deepening the bilateral relationship looking to the future... to reinforce Franco-Algerian cooperation in the face of regional challenges and to continue the work of addressing the past,” the presidency said after a call between Macron and his opposite number Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Macron is to be in Algeria from Thursday to Saturday next week.

French-Algerian ties hit a low late last year after Macron reportedly questioned whether Algeria had existed as a nation before the French invasion and accused its “political-military system” of rewriting history and fomenting “hatred towards France”.

Algeria withdrew its ambassador in response, but the two sides appear to have mended ties since.

The North African country won its independence from France following a gruelling eight-year war, which ended with the signing in March 1962 of the Evian Accords.

On July 5 of the same year, days after 99.72 per cent voted for independence in a referendum, Algeria finally broke free from colonial rule — but memories of the 132-year occupation continue to haunt its ties with France. — AFP