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Friday, 15 December, 2000, 03:24 GMT
Algeria: Chirac rejects "torture apology"

The French President, Jacques Chirac, has rejected calls for a formal apology over France's use of torture during the Algerian war of independence.

In a television interview, Mr Chirac said he would do nothing to detract from the honour of those French soldiers who'd fought in the conflict.

He said it was important not to reopen old wounds and he urged both countries to continue along the path of reconciliation.

There have been frequent calls in France for an act of repentance with powers to award compensation to victims of torture.

Last month, two French generals who'd been prominent in the war admitted that torture had been widely used against Algerian nationalist forces. Correspondents say the debate over the war, which lasted from 1956 to 1962, is among the most divisive in France.

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