Colonialism was a “grave mistake, serious fault”-French president, Macron
London, Dec. 22, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Colonialism was a “grave mistake” and a “serious fault” made by the French Republic, French president Emmanuel Macron declared on Saturday during a joint press conference with the president of the Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara.
“Too often, France is perceived as taking a supremacy stance and to dress itself in the rags of colonialism, which has been a grave mistake, a serious fault of the Republic”, Macron said.
He added that he hoped “a new page” of the story could be written.
Associated Press reports that 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”
Earlier that day, Macron announced that a French military operation killed 33 Islamic extremists in the Mopti region of central Mali on Saturday morning.
He tweeted he was “proud of our soldiers who protect us.” Two Malian gendarmes also were rescued in the operation, he said.
France has about 4,500 military personnel in West and Central Africa, much of which was ruled by France during the colonial era. The French led a military operation in 2013 to dislodge Islamic extremists from power in several major towns across Mali’s north.
In the ensuing years, the militants have regrouped and pushed further into central Mali, where Saturday morning’s operation was carried out.
On Friday evening, Macron met with French military personnel stationed in Ivory Coast, which shares a long border with volatile Mali and Burkina Faso. The visit included commandos who were involved in the operation in Mali last month during which 13 soldiers died in a helicopter collision.
Earlier Saturday, Macron and Ouattara highlighted a new training effort being launched. The International Academy to Fight Terrorism will be in charge of “training in Ivory Coast some specialized forces from across Africa,” Macron said. “Then we will collectively be better prepared for the fight against terrorism.”