Emmanuel Macron refuses to apologise for France’s colonial abuse in Algeria

‘No repentance’ from French president as report charts progress made since eight-year war

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 14, 1957 French paratroopers question Algerian Omar Merouane in Saint Eugene.

 French president Emmanuel Macron appointed expert historian Benjamin Stora to work on a report on the Algerian war and Colonisation memoir, a still burning issue, as the 60th anniversary of the independence of Algeria (1962) approaches. The report will be submitted on January 20, 2021. / AFP / INTERCONTINENTALE / Jacques GREVIN

Emmanuel Macron refused to apologise for French abuses committed in Algeria ahead of the release of a major report on Wednesday that assesses how France dealt with its colonial past in the North African nation.

Six decades after Algeria gained independence, the French president’s office said there would be “no repentance nor apologies” over crimes committed during the ruling of Algeria or the brutal eight-year war that ended occupation.

Mr Macron, who has done more than many of his predecessors in recognising the abuse committed, was scheduled to carry out a series of “symbolic acts” in an attempt at reconciliation.

The report by French historian Benjamin Stora recommended the creation of a "memory and truth" commission to address abuses.

He said a mixed French-Algerian committee could hear testimony from people who suffered in the independence war.

Last year, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune called on France to do more in facing up to its colonial past.

"We have already had half-apologies. The next step is needed ... we await it," he told France 24 in July 2020. "I believe that with President Macron we can go further in the appeasement process ... he is a very honest man who wants to improve the situation."

In 2017, Mr Macron said the colonisation of Algeria was a "crime against humanity" and a year later said France had allowed torture during the 1954-1962 war when French forces cracked down on independence fighters and sympathisers.

The report, released on Wednesday, was commissioned to assess "the progress made by France on the memory of the colonisation of Algeria and the Algerian war”.

Mr Macron said he hopes it will help improve relations between the countries.

(FILES) This file photo taken on January 21, 2020 shows Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a meeting with visiting French foreign minister in the capital Algiers. Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has returned to Germany for post COVID-19 treatment, Algeria announced on January 10, 2021. / AFP / RYAD KRAMDI
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