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France's Macron asks Algerian veterans for 'forgiveness'

French president Emmanuel Macron holds the sign reading "Tribute to Harkis" as he delivers a speech during a ceremony in memory of the Harkis at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on September 20, 2021 [GONZALO FUENTES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
French president Emmanuel Macron holds the sign reading "Tribute to Harkis" as he delivers a speech during a ceremony in memory of the Harkis at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on September 20, 2021 [GONZALO FUENTES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday asked for "forgiveness" from abandoned Algerians who fought for France during Algeria's War of Independence.

"In the name of France, I say to the Harkis and their children in a loud and solemn voice, that the Republic has contracted a debt towards them. To the combatants, I wish to express our gratitude. We will not forget. To the abandoned combatants, to their families who suffered the camps, the prison, the denial, I ask forgiveness, we will not forget," Macron said during a ceremony held at the Elysee Palace to honour the abandoned Algerian fighters.

During the ceremony, Macron promised to put forward a draft law aimed at recognising and compensating Algerian fighters before the end of the year.

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Macron said France had "neglected its obligations" towards the Harkis.

The Harkis are former Algerian fighters, numbering up to 200,000, who fought alongside the French army during the Algerian War of Independence between 1954 and 1962.

Only 42,000 were allowed to relocate to France after Algeria gained independence, however, the French government placed them in "temporary camps" lacking decent living conditions.

Macron has been preparing for his re-election campaign with presidential polls expected to be held in April next year.

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