Algeria is helping to 'diversify' Europe gas supplies: Macron
Macron obviously can go from questioning Algeria's existence to wanting to "conjure up the past" really fast.
Macron visited Algeria on Thursday hoping "to lay a foundation to rebuild and develop" a tense relationship with the North African nation, especially since ties between Paris and Algiers became particularly stormy last year when Macron questioned Algeria's existence as a nation before the French occupation and accused the government of fomenting "hatred toward France."
At the time, he projected a French superiority complex, "Was there an Algerian nation before French colonization?" and argued that there had been previous colonizations before the French one, citing the Ottoman Empire's colonization of Algeria.
However, today, Macron, during a visit to Africa's top gas exporter as part of his 3-day visit to the country, courted Algeria and said the African nation helped Europe diversify its energy supplies by pumping more gas to Italy.
Dismissing suggestions that Italy and France were competing for Algerian gas, Macron welcomed a deal Algeria signed last month to pump more gas to Italy, telling reporters it is "good for Italy, it's good for Europe and it improves the diversification of Europe."
European nations have been scrambling to reduce their reliance on Russian energy since the war in Ukraine six months ago.
Italy's Eni, US major Occidental, France's Total, and the Algerian group Sonatrach signed a $4 billion, 25-year oil and gas production-sharing contract last month that will provide Rome with "significant volumes of natural gas," Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said at the time.
An Algerian government source also said the North African country would increase gas exports to Italy by four billion cubic meters.
Italy buys the majority of its natural gas from abroad, with about 45% of its imports historically coming from Russia. Since February, it has sought to boost supplies from Algeria, which has a pipeline through which it can pump gas to Italy.
Algeria supplies around 11% of the natural gas consumed in Europe.
The ball is in Iran's court
On the nuclear deal talks, French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday claimed that the fate of a revived nuclear deal is now in Iran's hands, and an agreement will be "useful" even if it doesn't settle everything.
When asked during a visit to Algeria about the chances of success in reviving the 2015 agreement, Macron boldly said, "Now the ball is in Iran's court."
According to EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell, most countries that are part of discussions with Iran on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal say they agree with the bloc's latest proposal as all sides wait for the United States to respond after Tehran gave its opinion on the draft.
However, that same day, Israeli media cited a security source revealing that "the United States of America has relinquished all its demands to Iran." The source explains that "the assessment is that at this stage the crystallized agreement cannot be stopped," and that "Tehran got the dream deal."
Britain is 'a friend... whoever its leaders are'
President Macron also called Britain an ally, "whoever its leaders" was. His comments came in response to Liz Truss, anticipated to become UK PM, who said when asked if Macron was a friend or foe, "President Macron: friend or foe?.... The jury's out…”
“If I become Prime Minister, I'll judge him on deeds not words," she said.
"The British people, the United Kingdom, is a friendly, strong and allied nation, regardless of its leaders, and sometimes in spite of its leaders or the little mistakes, they may make in grandstanding," Macron told reporters.
Truss currently leads former finance minister Rishi Sunak by wide margins in polls of the Tory grassroots set to choose their next leader, who will then become prime minister.
Britain and France are allies at the heart of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) political and military alliance, but have differences on a number of issues, particularly after Britain's departure from the European Union.
Furthermore, the two countries also have contrasting approaches to the war in Ukraine.
During a press conference after visiting a cemetery in Algiers, Macron responded, "If we are not capable, between France and Britain, of saying whether we are a friend or enemy -- the term is not neutral -- we are heading towards serious problems."
He said, "It's never good to lose your bearings in life" and added that if he were asked the question, he wouldn't hesitate "for a second."
"The United Kingdom is a friend of France," Macron stated.
'Nuclear power must not be instrument of war in Ukraine'
In another context, French President Emmanuel Macron warned Friday against the use of civilian nuclear facilities as an instrument of war in Ukraine, where a Russian-controlled plant has been disconnected from the power grid.
"War in any case must not undermine the nuclear safety of the country, the region and all of us. Civil nuclear power must be fully protected," Macron said during a visit to Algeria.