The president, who once recognized French colonization as a “crime against humanity”, excludes “repentance” and “apologies” in the context of reconciliation.
French President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out making an official apology for colonial abuses in Algeria, his office said on Wednesday, ahead of a crucial report on how France is dealing with its past in the country.
There will be “no repentance or apology” for the occupation of Algeria or the bloody eight-year war that ended French rule, Macron’s office said, adding that the president would instead participate in “Symbolic acts” aimed at promoting reconciliation.
The Algerian War of Independence of 1954-1962 continues to strain relations between the two countries almost 60 years later.
Macron, the first French president born after the colonial period, went further than any of his predecessors in acknowledging French crimes in Algeria.
Before his election, in February 2017, Macron recognized the colonization of Algeria by France as a “crime against humanity”, in an interview with an Algerian television station – a comment that caused a sensation and was criticized by the far right.
Even if it did not include an apology, this comment in 2017 was a surprising admission in a country where the colonization of Algeria has long been considered benign and where many are opposed to the idea of repentance.
A year later, he acknowledged that France had a system in place that facilitated torture during the Algerian War, which ended 132 years of French rule.
Later Wednesday, a historian charged by the president to assess “the progress made by France on the memory of the colonization of Algeria and the Algerian war”, will present his conclusions.
However, Benjamin Stora’s report should not recommend that France issue an apology, but rather suggest ways to shed light on one of the darkest chapters in French history and suggest ways to promote healing. .
The presidency said Macron would participate in three days of commemoration next year marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the Algerian war.
Each day will be dedicated to a different group that has suffered in the conflict, presidential assistants added.