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French President Francois Hollande acknowledges country's 'unjust and brutal' occupation of Algeria but does not apologise
The French president acknowledged the 'suffering' inflicted on Algeria
Mr Hollande refused to apologise during a trip to France's former colonyAcknowledged use of torture and said there is a 'duty' to tell the truth
1.5million people died during the eight year struggle for independence
07:53 GMT, 21 December 2012
French President Francois Hollande today acknowledged the 'suffering' his country had inflicted on Algeria – while refusing to offer an apology to the former colony.
Speaking to the Algiers parliament, Mr Hollande admitted that 132 years of direct rule from Paris had often been 'brutal and affair'.
Mr Hollande spoke of the savage war of independence, which took place over eight years up until 1962 and claimed around 1.5 million lives.
No apology: French President Francois Hollande, pictured in Algiers on Thursday, acknowledged the 'suffering' his country inflicted on Algeria
Increased trade: President Francois Hollande, left, was invited to Algeria by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, right, for the landmark visit amid hopes of a new phase in relations
Torture was used frequently by the French military and security services as the war spread from the North African country to mainland France itself.
Mr Hollande said: 'What Algeria was subjected to for 132 years was profoundly brutal and unfair.
'That system had a name – colonialism – and I recognise here the suffering that colonialism inflicted on the Algerian people.
'There is a duty to tell the truth about the violence, the injustices, the massacres and the torture.'
Mr Hollande added that official archives needed to be opened so that historians could ensure the 'truth can come out progressively.'
Many Algerians had called on Hollande to issue an apology for French rule and for its conduct during the war for independence.
deep scars are felt on both sides of the Mediterranean, with a
coalition of prominent Algerian politicians attacking the French for
failing 'to recognise, apologise for and compensate' victims of 'its
Respect: President Francois Hollande laid a wreath of flowers at the Algerian war memorial
Mr Hollande admitted the 132 colonisation of Algeria had been 'unjust and brutal'
Mr Hollande's historic speech came a day after he arrived in Algeria on a two day state visit.
He called for a partnership 'of equals' between the two countries, but insisted he had 'not come to offer repentance or apologies. I have come to say what is true.'
Mr Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, also acknowledged that France's colonial rule on Algeria had been unjust but also failed to apologise.
There are up to four million French Algerians in mainland France, and Hollande said he wanted to make it easier for them to travel between the two countries.
He is also eager to boost trade, which stands at about eight billion pounds a year, and has been accompanied to Algeria by a number of business leaders.
Renault has just announced it is to build a factory in Oran, Algeria, and will produce 75,000 cars each year.
Hollande was invited to Algeria by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who will pay a return visit to France.
BLOODY AND BRUTAL: HOW ALGERIA WON INDEPENDENCE AFTER 132 YEARS
French paratroopers spot check Algerian peasants ten days after a series of attacks that marked the start of the Algerian independence war
The Algerian war of independence lasted eight years and cost the lives of approximately 1.5million people.
Hundreds of thousands were also tortured as brutal French tactics were used as part of a 'pacification campaign' to quell nationalist support.
Both the French army and the FLN – the Algerian National Liberation Front – targetted civilians during the complex conflict between 1954 and 1962.
It was characterised by guerrilla warfare and bloody suppression.
A pivotal and notorious event was the Battle of Algiers in 1956 when a general strike was violently broken by the French. General Jacque Massu was told to use any means necessary to break the strike.
Independence was finally gained following secret negotiations between the two sides and a referendum granted by Charles de Gaulle, who had returned to power.
In the second referendum six million people voted for independence and only 16,000 voted against.