Hollande begins visit to Algeria

Dec. 19, 2012 at 9:39 AM
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ALGIERS, Algeria, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- French President Francois Hollande began a two-day trip to Algeria Wednesday, hoping to ink several business deals, officials said.

But while Hollande's agenda includes the signing of several business, government and cultural agreements, encouraging educational exchanges, a speech at the University of Tlemcin, he also must recognize 132 years of French rule of the African country, Radio France Internationale reported.

Hollande must convince Algerians though France recognizes its 1830-1962 rule of Algeria, which ended in a bloody independence war, was "tragic," no apology is necessary, RFI said. He must do that while offending the fewest number of French voters possible.

His itinerary includes meeting with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and addressing the Algerian parliament.

The National Liberation Front, which has ruled Algeria since it gained independence, has sought some remorse for the occupation, massacres, torture and repression that accompanied France's colonization.

Elisabeth Guigou, president of France's Socialist Party, indicated there wouldn't be an apology but there would be a "recognition ... of a history that was tragic."

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