French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that France is neither regretful nor apologetic about the atrocities committed in its former colony, Algeria, ahead of a key report on France’s colonial past.
Between 1954 and 1962, Algerian revolutionaries and French forces engaged in a bloody war in which both sides committed war crimes but that ultimately led to the independence of the North African country.
Macron said France has “no repentance nor apologies” for its occupation of Algeria or its actions during the eight-year war. He said the French government instead will undertake “symbolic acts” to make up for its past deeds.
Nearly 60 years on, the war continues to strain French-Algieran ties, prompting France to put in efforts at restoring cordial relations.
So far, Macron has been the only French president to recognize France’s criminal involvement in colonial Algeria.
During his presidential campaign in 2017, he described France’s 132-year colonization of Algeria as a “crime against humanity” during an interview with an Algerian television channel. Macron’s comment caused a stir in France and was widely criticized by the far right.
In 2018, he acknowledged that French forces used torture during the Algerian war — the first time any French leader had made such an admission.
He tasked a French historian, Benjamin Stora, to assess the European country’s dealings in Algeria and propose ways of reconciliation. The report is expected to be published later Wednesday.
The Elysee Palace said Macron will take part in a three-day commemorative event next year to mark the 60th anniversary since the end of the war in Algeria.
Source: Voice of America