French President Nicolas Sarkozy's remarks denouncing colonialism as unjust still do not go far enough, Algerian interior minister said Tuesday. "This marks a progress," Yazid Zerhouni, said in the first official reaction to Sarkozy's remarks made late Monday during his official visit to the north African state. "It is a step in the right direction, but we still say it is not enough when his remarks are taken in context."
Speaking in the Algerian capital late Monday, the French leader noted that "the colonial system was profoundly unjust, contrary to the three founding words of our Republic: freedom, equality, brotherhood." According to AFP, Sarkozy said that "terrible crimes" were committed on both sides and that all of the war's victims should be honoured.
"Yes, terrible crimes were committed throughout the independence war with numerous victims (…)," added the French president.
"I do not know whether an apology is necessary, but it would always be useful," Zerhouni told reporters ahead of a visit by Sarkozy to the World Heritage archaeological site of Tipaza, 70 kilometres (40 miles) west of Algiers.
He said however that the absence of an apology "will not prevent there being a new vision of our relations. In both France and Algeria, we are condemned to believe that friendship is possible."