French President Emmanuel Macron has said he will not issue a public apology for colonial abuses committed in Algeria, Anadolu Agency reported.
“There will be no repentance nor apologies” for France’s 132-year occupation of Algeria or for the brutal War of Independence, his office was quoted as saying by public broadcaster France 24. Algeria gained independence on July 5, 1962.
Instead, the president would take part in “symbolic acts” aimed at promoting reconciliation, the statement added.
This comes as Macron is scheduled to meet noted historian Benjamin Stora at the Elysee on Wednesday and accept his report on the colonization of Algeria.
Stora was commissioned to the report by Macron last July to ensure “the history of the Algerian war is known and viewed with lucidity.”
Algerians have demanded in the past for France to acknowledge and apologize for the discriminatory practices and crimes committed during colonial rule in the country.
Based on estimates by Algerian historians, 1.5 million Algerians were killed during the course of their struggle for independence. French historians put this figure at 400,000 from both sides during the 1954-1962 Algerian War of Independence.
Although Macron has refuted an official apology, he is among the few French leaders to recognize the country’s bloody colonial past.
As a presidential candidate, Macron in 2017 had unequivocally condemned France’s colonial history calling it a “crime against humanity,” and as a head of the state insisted the “need to better represent certain parts of our collective history and integrate the history of colonisation.”