France urges Algeria to turn page over colonial past

16th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Visiting French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe urged Algeria Thursday to stop "dwelling on" its past under French colonial rule and instead focus on developing bilateral ties of mutual interest.

"We are men, and perhaps women, who are looking to the future and not the past. We are not going to dwell forever" on the colonial past, he told a joint press conference with his Algerian counterpart Mourad Medelci here.

"If both nations could see the "considerable opportunities for development in their mutual interest, I think that is better than questioning once again on what happened a century, 40 or even 50 years ago," Juppe said.

His remarks came in response to a reporter's question about whether France was remorseful over its 132-year occupation of Algeria that ended in 1962 after a bloody eight-year war of independence.

Ever since bilateral relations have been prickly and plans for a friendship treaty remain on ice over President Nicolas Sarkozy's refusal to apologise for colonial misdeeds, although he has admitted that colonialism was "unjust by nature."

Juppe's visit was the first by a French foreign minister since 2008.

© 2011 AFP

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