French President Francois Hollande, left and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika exchange signed contracts in Algiers, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. Commercial contracts, particularly in the food and agriculture areas, were signed along with an agreement to an assembly plant of Renault vehicles, near Oran, Algeria. Hollande arrived Wednesday on a state visit to Algeria, hoping for a clean start in relations after a half-century of tensions with this North Africa nation, once the French empire's most prized colony. (AP Photo/Djarboub Sidali )
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — French President Francois Hollande has acknowledged the "unjust" and "brutal" nature of France's occupation of Algeria for 132 years, but stopped short of apologizing for the past as many Algerians have demanded.
On the second day of his state visit to this North African nation, he told the two houses of parliament on Thursday that "I recognize the suffering the colonial system has inflicted" on the Algerian people.
He specifically recognized the "massacres" by the French during the seven-year war that led to Algerian independence in 1962.
The Socialist president said at the start of his visit that he and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika are opening a "new era" with a strategic partnership among equals.
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