French President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out issuing an official apology for abuses in Algeria, his office said on Wednesday ahead of a major report on how France is facing its colonial past in the country.
There will be “no repentance or excuse” for the occupation of Algeria or the bloody eight-year war that ended the French piece, Macron’s office said, adding that the French leader would instead engage in “symbolic acts” aimed at promoting reconciliation.
The atrocities committed by both sides during the Algerian War of Independence in 1954-1962 continue to put pressure on relations between the two countries six decades later.
Macron, the first president born after the colonial era, has gone further than any of his predecessors in recognizing French crimes in Algeria.
Later on Wednesday, a historian commissioned by the President to assess “the progress made by France in commemorating the colonization of Algeria and the Algerian war” will present its findings.
However, Benjamin Stora’s report is not expected to recommend France to apologize, but rather to suggest ways to illuminate one of the darker chapters in French history and to suggest ways to promote healing.
The presidency said Macron would attend a three-day anniversary next year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Algerian war.
Each day will be devoted to a different group that suffered in the conflict, the president’s assistants added.