(Reuters) - A fresh diplomatic row was brewing between France and Algeria on Thursday, with a war veterans’ leader calling on Paris to apologise for its colonial past before a visit by President Nicolas Sarkozy next week.
Following are key dates in Franco-Algerian relations:
November 1954 - Rebel attacks on French settlers signal start of independence war by National Liberation Front (FLN) guerrillas.
January 1957 - Battle of Algiers starts with bombing campaign against settlers. French paratroops use torture to extract information about bombers and break up rebel cells.
May 1958 - French army backs settlers’ uprising. France’s Fourth Republic collapses, General Charles de Gaulle returns to power, visits Algeria in early June.
January 1960 - Settlers rebel against De Gaulle’s moves to negotiate with FLN. April 1961 coup attempt by French army generals in Algiers collapses.
March 1962 - France and FLN sign ceasefire. Secret army organisation made up of settlers and army deserters sets Algerian cities ablaze in attempt to ward off independence.
July 1962 - Algerian independence is proclaimed. A million Europeans, dubbed “pieds noirs” (black feet), flee for France. Algeria claims one million Algerians died during the war.
1975 - President Valery Giscard d’Estaing becomes the first French president to visit independent Algeria. In 1982, President Chadli Benjedid makes first official visit to France.
1992 - Algerian civil strife erupts after cancellation of elections. In 1993, Armed Islamic Group (GIA) fundamentalist rebels order foreigners to leave Algeria or die.
December 1994 - GIA rebels hijack an Air France Airbus from Algiers to Marseille, kill three passengers before being shot dead by French police. Air France suspends flights to Algeria.
1995 - GIA rebels, accusing Paris of backing Algeria’s rulers, kill 12 in a bomb campaign in France. Talks between presidents Jacques Chirac and Lamine Zeroual are cancelled.
March 2003 - Chirac, in the first state visit by a French president since 1962, enjoys a warm welcome, saying a troubled past should now give way to reconciliation.
June 2003 - Air France flies its first passenger airliner to Algeria in nine years.
July 2006 - Bouteflika says in a speech that France’s rule of the north African country was one of the “most barbaric forms of colonisation in history”.
July 2007 - Newly elected French President Nicholas Sarkozy defends his refusal to apologise for colonial misdeeds saying leaders should focus on the future and not “beat their breasts” about the past.
Nov 2007 - War veterans’ leader Mohamed Said Abadou calls on Paris to apologise for colonial past.
Writing by David Cutler; Editing by Keith Weir
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