BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium confronted its colonial past and looked toward reconciliation Tuesday, with the king expressing regret for the violence carried out by the country when it ruled over what is now Congo. Later in the day, the bust of a former monarch held responsible for the death of millions of Africans was taken off public display.

As Belgium marked the 60th anniversary of the end of its colonial rule in Congo, King Philippe’s words had resounding significance since none of his predecessors went so far as to convey remorse.

In a letter to the Congolese president, Felix Tshisekedi, Philippe stopped short of issuing a formal apology, but proclaimed his “deepest regrets” for the “acts of violence and cruelty”

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