French President Emmanuel Macron once again says he will not “ask forgiveness” from Algeria for French colonization but hopes to continue working toward reconciliation with his Algerian counterpart Abdelmajid Tebboune.

In an interview for Le Point magazine published late Jan. 11, Macron refused to apologize for atrocities the French forces committed during 132 years of their presence in Colonial Algeria from 1830 to 1962.

“It’s not up to me to ask forgiveness, that’s not what this is about, that word would break all of our ties,” he said. “The worst thing would be to decide: ‘we apologize and each go our own way.’”

“Work on memory and history isn’t a settling of all accounts,” Macron said.


The French leader also expressed hope that Tebboune “will be able to come to France in 2023,” to return Macron’s own trip to Algiers last year and continue their “unprecedented work of friendship.”

Macron also told the Algerian writer Kamel Daoud during the interview that Algerians “have to be able to reach out your hand again and engage, which President Tebboune and I have been able to do.”

Back in January 2021, Macron refused to apologize to Algerians for the French colonization, saying that he would instead participate in “symbolic acts” aimed at promoting reconciliation.

The African nation was plundered by French colonizers for its rich natural resources. While French historians claim that only half a million civilians and combatants died during Algeria’s bloody war for independence from 1954 to 1962, Algerian authorities say more than 1.5 million Algerians were killed by French forces during the period.

During his presidential campaign in 2017, Macron, the first French president born after the colonial period, acknowledged that the colonization of Algeria was a “crime against humanity,” going further than any of his predecessors.

In 2018, he also admitted that France had instigated a system that facilitated torture during the Algerian war. However, he refused to apologize for atrocities committed by French troops during the colonization of Algeria.

France has been a former colonizer in Africa, and after years of outright colonization, still seeks control over countries spread over more than 12 territories and treats their people as second-class citizens. 

France has carried out more than 50 military interventions in Africa since 1960, when many of its former colonies gained nominal independence. (