At the start of a three-day visit to the North African country, French President Emmanuel Macron indicated France and Algeria should move beyond their “painful” shared history and look to the future.
After meeting Algerian counterpart President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Macron said, “We have a complex, painful common past. And it has at times prevented us from looking at the future.”
In order to study the archives on both sides of the colonial period, a joint committee with historians from both Algeria and France will be set up, Macron said.
“We hope the visit will open up new perspectives for partnership and cooperation with France,” Tebboune said standing alongside Macron.
Tebboune added, “The constructive talks we held today, with the usual frankness, demonstrate how special, deep and complex the relations between our two countries are.”
Macron visited a monument to Algerians killed in the war, placing a wreath there prior to his meeting with Tebboune.
For decades, the trauma of French colonial rule in Algeria and the bitter independence war that ended in 1962 has haunted relations between the two countries and played into a diplomatic dispute that erupted last year.
Describing French actions during the 1954-1962 war that killed hundreds of thousands of Algerians as a “crime against humanity” in 2017, Macron has long wanted to turn the page with Algeria.