Algeria, France tussle over archives 50 years after split

When French soldiers and administrators left Algeria they took historical artefacts, books and maps - a national heritage that remains in France.

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When French soldiers and administrators left Algeria after more than a century of colonial rule, they did not go empty-handed, report Reuters.

They took historical artefacts, books and maps, a national heritage that still sits in French libraries and archives today and which Algeria says its former colonial master should return.

France and Algeria this week mark the anniversary of the July 5, 1962, declaration of independence that ended French rule. Each side will reflect on the problems that still entangle them.

Algerians want Paris to apologise for decades of colonial servitude and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people who fought for independence. France wrestles with its legacy in the form of a huge community descended from Algerian migrants that struggles to integrate into French society.

Set against these problems, the missing archives are not the most serious issue weighing on French-Algerian relations. But the tussle captures the deep sense of both grievance and mutual dependence that remains between the two countries half a century after they broke apart.

Abdelmadjid Chikhi, director of Algeria's national archive centre, said his counterparts in France had offered a compromise: Algeria would be given access to copies of the disputed items if it abandons its claim to them. He refused.

Read more of this report from Reuters.

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