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Dec 4, 2013

France seeks to shed policeman role at Africa meeting

PARIS, Dec 4 (Reuters) – France will tell African leaders at
a Paris summit on Friday it will no longer play policeman on the
continent, even as it prepares to act in a new conflict in
Central African Republic after its Mali intervention this year.

Held since 1975, the Africa-France summit was an opportunity
for French and African officials to agree back-room deals to
reward France for propping up sometimes corrupt regimes.

Sep 20, 2013

Exclusive: Niger audits Areva uranium mines, seeking better deal

NIAMEY (Reuters) – Niger has ordered an audit of French nuclear group Areva’s (AREVA.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) uranium mines in the West African country as it presses for a better deal in talks over a new long-term contract, Mining Minister Omar Hamidou Tchiana told Reuters.

Areva’s two mines in Niger – Somair and Cominak – produce the fuel for roughly one-third of France’s nuclear power, providing some of the cheapest electricity in the West.

Sep 18, 2013

Niger would welcome armed U.S. drones: foreign minister

NIAMEY (Reuters) – Niger would welcome the deployment of armed U.S. drones to the West African country to help in its battle against an armed Islamist threat and drug trafficking in the Sahara, Foreign Minister Mohamed Bazoum said on Wednesday.

Washington deployed about 100 military personnel and unarmed surveillance drones in Niger after a French-led military operation in January destroyed an al Qaeda enclave in neighboring northern Mali.

Sep 17, 2013

Security problems to trim Niger 2013 growth to 5.8 pct – IMF

NIAMEY, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Niger’s economy will grow by 5.8
percent this year, slightly less than previously forecast, as
security problems weigh on the crucial uranium mining sector,
the International Monetary Fund said.

The IMF’s resident representative in Niger, Ahmed Zorome,
said increased military spending after May suicide attacks by
Islamists could also cause some budgetary slippage despite
government efforts to reduce a substantial budget deficit.

Aug 23, 2013

UN’s Mali task is state-building as much as peacekeeping

BAMAKO/KIDAL, Mali (Reuters) – The U.N. is being dragged into a mission in Mali likely to involve state-building as much as peacekeeping, as France looks to reduce its military footprint in the vast and poor Sahel state after defeating an Islamist rebellion.

The day Mali elected a new president this month, the French general who led the military campaign to push the rebels from its desert north flew back home, his job done.

Aug 23, 2013

Insight: U.N.’s Mali task is state-building as much as peacekeeping

BAMAKO/KIDAL, Mali (Reuters) – The U.N. is being dragged into a mission in Mali likely to involve state-building as much as peacekeeping, as France looks to reduce its military footprint in the vast and poor Sahel state after defeating an Islamist rebellion.

The day Mali elected a new president this month, the French general who led the military campaign to push the rebels from its desert north flew back home, his job done.

Aug 15, 2013

Keita given strong mandate for reform in Mali vote

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won Mali’s presidential runoff with 78 percent of the vote, the government said on Thursday, giving him a strong mandate to seek peace with northern separatists and for sweeping reforms to the army after a military coup.

Sunday’s vote marked a transition back to democratic rule after the March 2012 coup plunged Mali into turmoil, allowing Islamist insurgents to seize the desert north. A French-led military intervention in January liberated the region.

Aug 13, 2013

Malians applaud as Cisse vows to create opposition

BAMAKO (Reuters) – The loser of Mali’s presidential election vowed on Tuesday to build the war-torn West African country’s first real opposition in years, as Malians applauded his admission of defeat that dispelled fears of fresh conflict.

Soumaila Cisse conceded late on Monday as it became clear former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita had swept Sunday’s second-round vote with a promise to restore the pride of a nation riven by a military coup and Islamist revolt last year.

Aug 13, 2013

Loser in Mali presidential race vows to create opposition

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Soumaila Cisse, loser in Mali’s presidential elections, vowed on Tuesday that he would build the country’s first proper opposition in years, as Malians applauded his concession to Ibrahim Boubacar Keita which dispelled fears of fresh conflict.

Cisse conceded defeat late on Monday as it became clear that former prime minister Keita had swept Sunday’s second round vote. Keita has promised to restore the pride of a nation riven by a military coup and an Islamist revolt last year.

Aug 13, 2013

Keita wins Mali presidential vote after rival admits defeat

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, an ex-prime minister with a reputation for firmness, won Mali’s presidential election after his rival conceded defeat on Monday in a poll meant to draw a line under more than a year of turmoil.

Keita, 68, universally known by his initials IBK, will now have access to $4 billion in international development aid to rebuild the West African country after a French military intervention in January ended Islamist rebels’ occupation of the northern two-thirds of Mali.