Algeria president will not attend Libya's conference in France

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FILE PHOTO: Algeria's Abdelmadjid Tebboune arrives to deliver a news conference in Algiers

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune will not attend a conference on Libya in France on Friday but will delegate a representative, Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said on Wednesday.

Relations between France and Algeria have been tense, and Algiers early last month recalled its ambassador to Paris and closed its airspace to French military planes after what it called "irresponsible" comments attributed to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron had questioned whether there had been an Algerian nation before French colonial rule and said that Algeria's "politico-military system" had rewritten the history of its colonisation by France based on "a hatred of France."

France on Tuesday said Macron regretted the controversies and misunderstandings generated by the remarks and "he has the greatest respect for the Algerian nation, its history and the sovereignty of Algeria" and he wants Tebboune to attend the conference on Libya.

"It was decided that Algeria would participate in the conference, but not at level of the President of the Republic," Lamamra said after a meeting in Algiers with Algerian ambassadors.

"The conditions are sufficient (for him) to personally participate in the conference, despite his commitment to the effective role of Algeria alongside Libyan brothers and pushing the Libyan cause to the desired peaceful and democratic solution."

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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