Paris: Algeria and France have announced they would examine the complex and painful history of France’s colonial rule of the North African country while expanding cooperation with future joint projects.
“We want to build the future together,” said French President Emmanuel Macron at the start of a three-day visit to Algeria. The goal is to turn “a new page in our bilateral relations,” he was quoted as saying by dpa news agency.
Macron hopes to announce joint industry, research, energy, sport and culture ventures. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune also expressed hopes for a new chapter in relations and closer ties between the two, particularly in the areas of trade, technology and culture.
The two sides said they would work to set up a commission of historians from both countries. These academics would go through various archives to dig up the truth about the colonial era, said Macron.
The goal is not to brush aside the joint history of the two countries, but that history shouldn’t stand in the future’s way, Macron said.
Lingering questions about the colonial era routinely complicate ties between Algeria and France.
Algerians fought from 1954 to 1962 to end French control, which began in 1830. Hundreds of thousands died and many topics related to the war were long taboo in France. Macron has been making efforts to build bridges.
France also hopes to boost the amount of gas it imports from Algeria as Russian cuts to energy supplies have left Paris facing shortages. Macron is joined by Catherine MacGregor, head of French power company Engie, on his trip. Italy signed a gas deal with Algeria in April.