Macron to make USA state visit in late April

Corsican nationalists protest ahead of French leader's visit

The ongoing visit of French President Macron to Corsica is "a historic chance" to give momentum to the discussions about autonomy for the island and Corsican officials expect that the French leader would voice proposals on the issue, the president of the Corsica Libera faction in the Corsican legislative body told Sputnik.

Speaking at a ceremony in the city of Ajaccio, Macron said Corsica had been "sullied" by the killing, for which nationalist Yvan Colonna is serving a life sentence, and that there would be "no forgetting and no amnesty".

The mountainous Mediterranean island of Corsica, birthplace of Napoleon, became part of France in the 18th century after being ruled for centuries by the Republic of Genoa in what is now Italy.

He added that the relationship between Nigeria and France in the last few years have centred on security and that President Macron hopes to use the visit to further deepen relations with Nigeria especially in areas such as youths development, culture and creativity.

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Macron met Erignac's widow to dedicate a square to his memory.

The language recognition was one of the key wishes of nationalist leaders such as Gilles Simeoni and Jean-Guy Talamoni who reportedly boycotted a Wednesday lunch with Macron. "We are convinced that Mr Macron is a man intelligent enough to understand the situation" and "that what we want to do is in the interests of Corsica and also Paris", he added.

Nationalists in Corsica are in an unprecedented position of political strength.

"It's a sad night for Corsica", said Talamoni, saying he was "dismayed by the level of responses" given by Macron.

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The Corsican question has plagued successive French governments for almost half a century.

Nationalist parties cemented their dominance in regional assembly elections in December, but insist they are seeking only greater autonomy, not independence - for now.

On Saturday, thousands of nationalists marched to demand "respect for the Corsican people".

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