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Aug 28, 2014

France warns of more sanctions if Russian troops in Ukraine

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday it would be “intolerable and unacceptable” if it were proven that Russian troops had entered Ukrainian territory, warning that a further escalation would lead to more sanctions.

Ukraine accused Russia on Thursday of bringing troops into the southeast of the country in support of pro-Moscow separatist rebels there. Russia’s defense ministry denied the allegation.

Aug 28, 2014

France’s Hollande says Assad cannot be ally in fight against Islamic State

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday opposition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq should receive more Western support, but he ruled out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as an ally against the jihadists.

Syrian rebel forces have been fighting Assad for more than three years with political backing from the West in a war that has cost 190,000 lives. But hardline Islamist groups have increasingly dominated the anti-Assad struggle, posing a dilemma for Western countries.

Aug 25, 2014

French government resigns after leftists call for U-turn

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande asked his prime minister on Monday to form a new government, looking to impose his will on the cabinet after rebel leftist ministers had called for an economic policy U-turn.

The surprise move came the day after outspoken Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg had condemned what he called fiscal “austerity” and attacked euro zone powerhouse Germany’s “obsession” with budgetary rigour.

Aug 22, 2014

Pressure mounts on Europeans to take more action against Islamic State

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – European leaders face calls to take direct action against the Islamic State including in Syria after the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, but politicians are reluctant to take the lead after previous missteps in the region.

The release of a video this week showing Foley’s beheading by a black-clad Islamic State (IS) militant with a British accent has emerged as a possible game-changer in the fight against the jihadist group.

Aug 21, 2014

In case of slain journalist, negotiations, silence, then a chilling warning

WASHINGTON/PARIS (Reuters) – After months of silence from the captors of American journalist James Foley, on the night of Aug. 13, his family received a chilling message: Foley would be executed in retaliation for U.S. air strikes on the militant group Islamic State.

The family passed the message on to the U.S. government. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which handles cases involving kidnapped American citizens, helped craft a response, pleading for mercy, said Phil Balboni, chief executive of GlobalPost, the Boston-based online news publication that employed Foley.

Aug 20, 2014

France seeks international meeting to tackle Islamic State

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Wednesday it wanted to bring together Arab states, Iran and the main world powers to coordinate a comprehensive response against Islamic State insurgents who control large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Speaking in an interview with Le Monde French President Francois Hollande did not say when such a meeting could be held or who would be invited but said a global strategy was needed to combat the insurgents.

Jul 19, 2014

France says Iran faces crucial choices as nuclear talks extended

CAIRO (Reuters) – France said on Saturday it hoped the extension on nuclear talks between the West and Iran would convince Tehran to make the “indispensable choices” needed to reach a long term deal, but warned that major differences still remained.

IranĀ and six powers agreed to continue talking for four more months after failing to meet a July 20 deadline to reach a deal on curbing the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for ending sanctions, enabling Tehran to access $2.8 billion of frozen cash.

Jul 18, 2014

Egypt renews truce call as Israel intensifies Gaza offensive

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt renewed its call for a truce to end the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on Friday and France asked Qatar to use its influence with the Palestinian movement to reach a ceasefire.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, speaking at a news conference in Cairo with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius,

Jul 16, 2014

Iran, powers seek to agree terms for extending nuclear talks: diplomats

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran and six world powers are working to finalize the terms of a likely extension in negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program beyond a July 20 deadline and an announcement may come as early as Friday, Western diplomats said.

Officials from both sides have said it appears the talks will not yield a breakthrough by the self-imposed target date after two weeks of efforts failed to bridge gaps in positions over a deal intended to end a decade-long dispute.

Jul 15, 2014

French soldier killed in Mali suicide bombing

PARIS (Reuters) – A French soldier was killed in the first suicide bombing targeting France’s forces in northern Mali, where local and foreign troops are struggling to restore order after putting down an Islamist insurgency last year, officials said.

The attack came just days before French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was due to visit Mali and President Francois Hollande’s visit to West Africa later this week.