President Francois Hollande refused on Wednesday to apologize for France's colonial past in Algeria, saying instead that Paris wanted to move forward on an equal footing and boost trade with the oil-rich North African nation.
The trauma of the 1954-1962 Algerian war, in which hundreds of thousands were killed before France's departure, left deep scars in both countries which still hold back a partnership France believes could help revive the Mediterranean basin.
Speaking on his first state visit since his election in May, Hollande said the two had agreed a friendship declaration and a five-year strategic pact covering economic, cultural, agricultural and defense ties.
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