Macron visits the 'birthplace of Rai' in Oran as reconciliation visit to Algeria comes to an end

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French President Emmanuel Macron was swamped by crowds of young people outside the Disco Maghreb music store this Saturday, as his three-day visit to Algeria drew to a close.

UPDATE 14h00 UT:

The French head of state visited the port and the chapel of Santa Cruz on the heights of Oran on Saturday, and then moved on to the HQ of the Disco Maghreb label, which is emblematic of Raï – a musical movement that came to the fore in Oran in the 1980s before conquering a worldwide audience.

Macron then met with young people and sportsmen during a breakdance demonstration.

He said his visit to the store was "a way to relay my respect, my admiration and my taste", calling it the epicentre of Raï music.

The French president, who arrived in western Mediterranean city on Friday evening, also dined with writer Kamel Daoud and other Oranese personalities.

'Truth and recognition'

Earlier Friday, Macron called for a "new pact" with Algeria and "truth and recognition" of the past, on day two of his visit to France's former colony.

The trip follows months of tensions between Paris and Algiers, which earlier this year marked six decades of independence following 132 years of French rule.

The three-day visit also comes as European powers scramble to replace Russian energy imports – including with supplies from Algeria, Africa's top gas exporter, which in turn is seeking a greater regional role.

Re-examining Franco-Algerian history

Macron had proclaimed a "new page" in relations after meeting President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and announcing the creation of a joint commission of historians to examine the colonial period and the devastating eight-year war that ended it, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

On Friday, Macron – the first French president to be born after Algerian independence in 1962 – told journalists he wanted "the truth, and recognition, otherwise we'll never move forward".

After his visit to Oran on Saturday, Macron returned to the capital Algiers to sign "a joint declaration for a renewed, concrete and ambitious partnership" with his Algerian counterpart, Tebboune, before returning to France.