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WAR

Tripoli must rise against Qaddafi: French minister

France said Sunday it is committed to striking Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi's military assets for as long as needed for him to quit power and called on Libyans in Tripoli to rise against him.

“We say to Qaddafi that we will not ease our pressure and to his opponents that we will not abandon them,” French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet was quoted as saying by the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

“Things have to move more in Tripoli… the population must rise up,” he added.

With their bombing campaign dragging on unresolved, France and Britain have been forced to accept that Kadhafi may stay in Libya if he quits power under a ceasefire, despite calls for international justice.

“We are signed up for the duration and are thereby facilitating a negotiated settlement” between Qaddafi’s regime and the rebels backed by France and Britain, Longuet said in the interview published Sunday.

France last week was the first to openly suggest Qaddafi could stay under a negotiated settlement. Britain denied the joint position was a climb-down after it had repeatedly called for him to quit the country.

“France and Britain are not alone” in the NATO-coordinated campaign, “but it is true France would like its European Union partners – Spain, Germany, Poland and northern European nations – to get more involved alongside it,” Longuet said.

“The more of us there are showing that nothing can happen with Kadhafi in power, the more we will manage to isolate him totally, and the quicker this war will end.”

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WAR

French forces tortured and murdered Algerian freedom fighter in 1950s, admits Macron

French forces "tortured and murdered" Algerian freedom fighter Ali Boumendjel during his country's war for independence, President Emmanuel Macron admitted on Tuesday, officially reappraising a death that was covered up as a suicide.

French forces tortured and murdered Algerian freedom fighter in 1950s, admits Macron
Malika, the widow of Ali Boumendjel, pictured in 2001. Photo: Stefan Fferberg/AFP

Macron made the admission “in the name of France” during a meeting with Boumendjel’s grandchildren.

The move comes after Macron in January refused to issue an official apology for abuses committed during the occupation of Algeria – instead, he agreed to form a “truth commission” as recommended by a report commissioned by the government to shed light on France’s colonial past.

Atrocities committed by both sides during the 1954-1962 Algerian war of independence continue to strain relations between the countries.

Boumendjel, a nationalist and lawyer, was arrested during the battle of Algiers by the French army, “placed incommunicado, tortured, and then killed on 23 March 1957,” the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

“Ali Boumendjel did not commit suicide. He was tortured and then killed,” Macron told Boumendjel’s grandchildren, according to the statement.

It is not the first time the real cause of death was acknowledged.

In 2000, the former head of French intelligence in Algiers Paul Aussaresses confessed to ordering Boumendjel’s death and disguising the murder as a suicide, according to the statement.

It added that Macron on Tuesday had also reiterated his desire to give families the opportunity to find out the truth about this chapter of history.

Last month, Boumendjel’s niece Fadela Boumendjel-Chitour denounced what she called the “devastating” lie the French state had told about her uncle.

French historian Benjamin Stora, who wrote the government-commissioned report, has said there is a “never-ending memory war” between the two countries.

The report has been described by the Algerian government as “not objective” and falling “below expectations.”

During his 2017 election campaign, Macron – the first president born after the colonial period – declared that the occupation of Algeria was a “crime against humanity”.

He has since said there was “no question of showing repentance” or of “presenting an apology” for abuses committed in the North African country.

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