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No, the German energy minister did not accuse France of sabotaging a solar energy project in Algeria

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CheckNews, France

2 May 2019, Updated: 2 May 2019

No, the German energy minister did not accuse France of sabotaging a solar energy project in AlgeriaScreenshot: Facebook

The German embassy in Algiers has denied a widely shared text which claimed that Germany’s energy minister, Peter Altmaier, had accused France of “sabotaging a giant project in Algeria”.

We shortened your original question: “Is it true that the German minister of energy, Peter Altmaier, accused France of having sabotaged the development of a giant solar-energy project in Algeria so as to prevent [Algeria] from developing its economy and ending its dependence on hydrocarbons?”

Your question follows an article published on 18 April by the Algerian site Algérie Patriotique, which was widely disseminated on social media. Entitled “A German minister accuses France of having sabotaged a giant project in Algeria”, it was shared more than 8200 times on Facebook and more than 10 000 times overall according to the social-media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

In this text, Algérie Patriotique writes: “The association of ulemas has reported serious revelations concerning the German minister of energy, Peter Altmaier, who is quoted, according to this organization, by the German TV channel ZDF, on the subject of the planned solar-energy project in the Algerian desert, Desertec, which was meant to bring together eleven partners, including the Algerian energy group Sonelgaz.” The “serious revelations” in question relate to the following remarks, attributed to the German minister for economy and energy, Peter Altmaier: “Algeria could supply Europe with electricity and earn billions of dollars, but the Bouteflika government was not of this opinion, because France was firmly opposed to the idea that Algeria might develop itself, diversify its economy and end its dependence on hydrocarbons. Algeria could have become one of the biggest electricity exporters in the world, but France blocked the project, one of the most important and lucrative projects for Algeria.”

“Fake news” denied by the German embassy in Algiers

CheckNews looked for such declarations on the German public TV channel ZDF, as well as in the German press. Nothing was found.

And for a reason, says the German embassy in Algiers, since the comments were never made. On its Facebook page the embassy published a denial in Arabic and French: “The remarks attributed to our minister of economy and energy, Mr Peter Altmaier, relating to the ‘Desertec’ project and published by certain Facebook pages and the electronic press, are false. This is therefore ‘fake news’.”

Translated by Harry Bowden, VoxEurop

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