France’s Macron says colonialism was ‘grave mistake’

French President Emmanuel Macron (left) greets Ivorian counterpart President Alassane Ouattara on the sidelines of a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan on December 21, 2019, during a three day visit to West Africa. — AFP pic
French President Emmanuel Macron (left) greets Ivorian counterpart President Alassane Ouattara on the sidelines of a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan on December 21, 2019, during a three day visit to West Africa. — AFP pic

ABIDJAN (Ivory Coast), Dec 22 — French President Emmanuel Macron on yesterday said “colonialism was a grave mistake,” and called for “turning the page” on the past during a visit to Ivory Coast, a former French colony in West Africa.

Macron, speaking in Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan, said France was often viewed as having a “hegemonistic view and the trappings of colonialism that was a grave mistake and a fault of the Republic.”

“I belong to a generation which was not” part of the colonial-era, he said.

“The African continent is a young continent,” he said.

“Three-fourths of your country never knew colonialism,” he said, addressing Ivorians and called on African youths to “build a new partnership of friendship with France.”

During his election campaign for presidency Macron had created a storm by calling France’s colonisation of Algeria a “crime against humanity”.

In a 2017 TV interview, he said French actions in Algeria, which achieved independence in 1962 after eight years of war, were “genuinely barbaric, and constitute a part of our past that we have to confront by apologising”. — AFP

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