PARIS (AA) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence from France, marked on Tuesday, that he wants to strengthen relations with the former colony.
“The 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence is an opportunity for the President of the Republic to send a letter to President Tebboune his wishes to the Algerian people and to express his wish that the strengthening of already strong ties between France and Algeria,” he wrote to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
Macron also reaffirmed his commitment to continue the “truth and reconciliation of the memories of the Algerian and French peoples.”
The former colony won independence after a bloody war in 1962, bringing closure to the 132-year-long French occupation.
Algeria will celebrate with a military parade in front of several heads of state.
In Paris, a wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the National Memorial of the War in Algeria and the Combat of Morocco and Tunisia, to honor the European and French victims of the Oran massacre that took place on the same day.
Paris and Algiers have shared a hostile relationship since the independence struggle which has been hot and cold in the last six decades. After coming to power in 2017, Macron attempted to reset the Franco-Algerian relationship, by setting up a truth and reconciliation project on colonization.
However, he has stopped short of an official apology which is expected and demanded by the Algerians.
It has been well-documented that the French colonial regime in Algeria engaged in brutal torture and killing of freedom fighters and the general public.
Macron’s refusal to offer an official apology for the occupation and atrocities during the resistance war provoked Algeria’s ire.
Relations further hit a rocky road after Paris reduced visa quotas for Algeria and former colonies in North Africa. Last year, Macron also made denigrating remarks against Algerians reeking of strong prejudice, and accused the ruling party of rewriting history to foment anti-French hatred.
The political crisis was laid to rest after Macron finally expressed regret for his comments.