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22.12.2019 Africa

France's Macron says colonialism was 'grave mistake'

By AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan.  By Ludovic MARIN (AFP)
LISTEN DEC 22, 2019
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan. By Ludovic MARIN (AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday 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".

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