French minister Darmanin thanks Algeria for 'cooperation' against extremism

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French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Sunday praised his country's "cooperation" with Algeria against extremism, during a visit to France's North African former colony.

His visit came after a string of deadly jihadist attacks in France.

Darmanin arrived in the capital Algiers on Saturday after a tour of several Mediterranean countries, including neighbouring Tunisia.

After meeting his counterpart Kamel Beldjoud, the French interior minister thanked Algeria for "our continued cooperation, particularly on security and the struggle against terrorism".

The two men discussed the conflict in neighbouring Libya as well as clandestine migration, he told journalists.

AFP was not allowed to attend their news conference but obtained a recording of their statements.

Beldjoud said their visions were "identical on all the subjects we discussed".

Darmanin also held talks with Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad, but will not be seeing President Abdelmadjid Tebboune who is hospitalised in Germany with the Covid-19 illness.

The French minister had already been planning to visit Algeria when a 21-year-old Tunisian, newly arrived in Europe, allegedly killed three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice last month.

Tunisia, which also hosted Darmanin on Friday, said it would accept France repatriating Tunisian citizens suspected of being radical Islamists.

As in Tunisia, Darmanin is also expected to ask Algeria to take back a number of its nationals illegally present in France or suspected of extremism.

France says over 230 foreigners currently present illegally in France are suspected of radicalism -- mostly from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

Illegal sea crossings to Europe from North Africa have been on the rise, largely driven by economic woes accentuated by the coronavirus pandemic.