Africa

Belgium apologized to Congo: Algeria awaits apologies from France for colonial past

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said he expected an apology from France for the colonization of Algeria, and his counterpart Emmanuel Macron was “someone very honest” likely to contribute to this climate of appeasement.

Asked, on Saturday, during an interview with the international channel France 24 about possible excuses from Paris, he replied: “We have already received half-excuses. Another step must be taken […]. We want it.”

“This will make it possible to calm the climate and make it more serene for economic relations, for cultural relations, for neighborly relations,” he continues by recalling that more than six million Algerians live in France and that they “can take something there and here”.

Returned Algerian combatants

France made a strong gesture of appeasement in terms of memory by restoring, on Friday, the remains of 24 Algerian fighters killed at the start of French colonization in the 19th century.

This restitution offers relaxation in the relations between Algeria and the old colonial power, marked since independence in 1962 by recurrent polemics and tensions.

“I find that with President Macron, we can go far in appeasement, in solving the memory problem,” said President Tebboune. “He is someone very honest, who wants to calm the situation […] and allow our relationships to return to their natural level,” he continued, also calling him “very sincere”, “very clean from a historical point of view”.

During a visit to Algiers in December 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron undertook to return the Algerian human remains stored at the Musée de l’Homme. The same year, but before his election, he called the colonization of Algeria in Algiers a “crime against humanity”.

The memory issue remains at the heart of volatile relations between France and Algeria, where the perception is that France is not doing enough to settle its colonial past.

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