Sarkozy says France should recognize colonial history, not repent

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rench President Nicolas Sarkozy, embarking on a trip to former colonies in North Africa on Tuesday, said France should recognize its colonial history but not repent it.

"I am for a recognition of facts, not for repentance, which is a religious notion and has no place in state-to-state relations," Sarkozy said in an interview with the Algerian newspapers El Watan and El Khabar published Tuesday.

"The younger generations, on both sides of the Mediterranean, ... are not expecting their leaders to torture themselves in battling their guilt for the errors or mistakes of the past, because on this account, there would be a lot to do on both sides," he was quoted as saying.

"That is not to say that we should cover up the past, since any grand nation ... should come to terms with its history, with its light and its dark sides.

"Certainly there were many dark sides, sufferings and injustices during the 132 years that France spent in Algeria, but there wasn't only this," he continued.

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