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Fench president hopes Algeria visit can bury enmities tied to colonial era, look to future

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French President Francois Hollande, delivers a speech as he visits the Radiall engineering and coaxial connectors plant in Chateau-Renault, central France, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool ) (The Associated Press)

French President Francois Hollande is hoping for a clean start and end to tensions in ties with Algeria during a state visit to a country that was once the French empire's most-prized colony.

The two-day state visit by the Socialist president, which begins Wednesday, comes as Algeria celebrates 50 years since its independence from France after a brutal seven-year war. Many Algerians want Hollande to make amends for France's past actions.

Hollande's trip aims to look forward toward an era marked by mutually prosperous economic ties. The gas-rich OPEC nation is a land of promise for French industry, and France is Algeria's No. 1 trading partner.

Hollande and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika are also expected to talk about international efforts to fight terrorism in northern Mali, which neighbors Algeria.