the secret clauses of the 1962 Evian Agreements

Sixty years ago, on March 18, 1962, the Evian Agreement was signed in eastern France, which would put an end to more than seven years of French-Algerian conflict. The text specifies the process of self-determination for the Algerian people. It frames the status of the European population and provides for the maintenance of France for a few years in the Sahara. Some clauses on this subject have long been kept secret.

With the status of Europeans in the future of independent Algeria – which will not be respected after the signing of the Evian Agreements – the fate of the Sahara is the most sensitive chapter in the negotiations at that time.

France then stopped realizing that the vast desert was Algerian, but it wants to maintain its presence there. It discovered oil there in 1956 and continued, in Reggane, to its first nuclear test in February 1960. Achieving the development of the atomic bomb became an important strategic goal for General de Gaulle.

► Read also: Under the Algerian sands, French nuclear waste

In Évian, the French negotiators get that France continues to exploit the Sahara’s hydrocarbons with Algeria. The agreement will apply until the nationalization of the sector in 1971. The French army is also allowed to continue its nuclear tests: 57 in total in the Algerian sands until 1966.

In the late 1990s, the Le Nouvel Observateur also revealed the existence of the French experimental base for chemical weapons B2 Namous, in northern Sahara; itself subject to a secret clause in the Évian agreements, which were to be renewed in 1967 and 1972, before the French army’s final departure from this enormous chemical polygon in 1978.

Also read: Algeria’s war, the tumultuous history of the Evian Treaty

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