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Monday, 21 June 2021

Algerian general says France must take responsibility for nuke sites

France carried out 17 nuclear explosions in the Algerian part of the Sahara Desert between 1960 and 1966

AFP , Sunday 7 Feb 2021
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France must "shoulder its historic responsibilities" for 1960s nuclear test sites in Algeria, a senior Algerian military official said in the influential army monthly El Djeich, published Sunday.

France carried out 17 nuclear explosions in the Algerian part of the Sahara Desert between 1960 and 1966.

Eleven of the tests came after the 1962 Evian Accords ended the six-year war of independence and 132 years of French colonial rule.

"More than 60 years have passed since the first nuclear test in Algeria. France still refuses to hand over the maps revealing the location of nuclear waste," General Bouzid Boufrioua said in this month's edition of El Djeich.

He added their handover was "a right that the Algerian state fervently demands, not forgetting the issue of compensation for the Algerian victims of the tests".

Boufrioua said "France must shoulder its historic responsibilities", particularly in view of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2017 with the approval of 122 countries.

The treaty "is the first time that the international community has asked nuclear powers to right their past errors", he added.

Unlike Algeria, France refused to sign on to the treaty.

France's first nuclear test in Algeria took place on February 13, 1960, in Reggane, in the southwest of the country.

The issue of nuclear tests remains a major bone of contention between the two countries.

The tests have caused a "large number of victims among the local population and damage to the environment that unfortunately still remains today", Boufrioua said.

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