Sarkozy Shrugs Off Jewish Flap, Visits Algeria

Case closed, says French prez, focusing on energy contracts
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2007 1:32 PM CST
Mohamed Cherif Abbas, Algeria's minister for veterans, is seen in this 2007 file photo. Mohamed Cherif Abbas was quoted Monday Nov.28, 2007 in the daily El Khabar as saying that French President Nicolas...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy downplayed an Algerian minister's comment last week that he gained the French presidency through a "Jewish lobby that has a monopoly on French industry" and arrived in the country today, the AP reports. On a 3-day visit to the former colony, Sarkozy hopes to lock up a partnership agreement and valuable energy contracts.

Further chilling relations between the countries ahead of Sarkozy's first state visit to Algeria, the minister for veterans also demanded France recognize colonial-era crimes, an idea Sarkozy dismissed. The Algerian president has repudiated the remarks. The energy deals are meant to secure access to Algeria’s natural gas resources until 2019 and could create 7,000 jobs in Algeria.