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Feb 24, 2015

Leading powers seek stepped-up monitoring in Ukraine

PARIS (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany agreed on Tuesday to seek a reinforcement of the international monitoring mission in Ukraine and renewed their calls for an oft-breached ceasefire agreement to be respected.

The meeting of about three hours in Paris was called in a bid to rescue an agreement the four powers brokered this month in Belarus capital Minsk, setting out terms for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of arms in the conflict in east Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian rebels.

Feb 18, 2015

Four years on, some in Europe support talking to Assad

BEIRUT/PARIS (Reuters) – Some European Union countries which withdrew their ambassadors from Syria are saying privately it is time for more communication with Damascus even though Britain and France oppose it, diplomats said.

Those states have become more vocal in internal meetings about the need to talk to the Syrian government and have a presence in the capital. London and Paris reject this, saying President Bashar al-Assad has lost all legitimacy.

Feb 15, 2015

Libya conflict, order gap spurred French Rafale sale to Egypt

PARIS, Feb 13 (Reuters) – The arms deal that eluded France
for 20 years, its first foreign order for the Rafale combat jet,
came with a Thursday evening phone call crowning weeks of
diplomacy carried out with unusual speed and stealth.

Egypt’s decision to buy 24 of the Dassault Aviation
fighters follows failures by successive French
governments to sell the plane and leapfrogs three years of
inconclusive talks for a 126-plane contract with India.

Feb 12, 2015

France’s Hollande says Egypt to buy Rafale fighters, frigate

BRUSSELS, Feb 12 (Reuters) – French President Francois
Hollande said Egypt would order 24 Rafale fighter jets, a naval
frigate and related military equipment in a deal to be signed in
Cairo on Monday worth more than 5 billion euros ($5.70 billion).

The contract would make Egypt, aiming to upgrade its
military hardware amid fears the crisis in neighbouring Libya
could spill over, the first export customer for the warplane,
built by Dassault Aviation.

Feb 10, 2015

French Rafale fighter jet sale to Egypt “imminent” -source

PARIS, Feb 10 (Reuters) – France is close to selling
Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter jets to Egypt,
sources close to the matter said on Tuesday, as Cairo looks to
upgrade its military hardware over fears the crisis in
neighbouring Libya could spill over.

France and Egypt have been negotiating since a November
state visit by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over 24
Rafale jets, a Fremm naval frigate and MBDA air-to-air missiles
in a deal worth 5 billion to 6 billion euros ($5.65-$6.78
billion), two industrial sources told Reuters last week.

Feb 5, 2015

France sends advisers to Nigeria border to coordinate Boko Haram fight

PARIS, Feb 5 (Reuters) – France has sent military advisers
to Niger’s southern border with Nigeria to help coordinate
military action by regional powers fighting the Islamist group
Boko Haram, a French army official said on Thursday.

The deployment was announced as warplanes pounded Boko Haram
positions just over the border in Nigeria, a resident in the
Niger town of Bosso said, and hundreds of Chadian troops massed
at the frontier to prepare an attack.

Jan 29, 2015

In France’s suburbs, state neglect breeds resentment

AULNAY-SOUS-BOIS, France (Reuters) – Soul-searching in France in the weeks since Islamist gunmen killed 17 people has centred on battling radical Islam and reinforcing the country’s secular tradition. In the “cit├ęs”, housing estates like those in which the gunmen grew up, this seems to many like seeking a scapegoat for decades of neglect.

“We’re not all drug dealers, bank robbers and even less so jihadis,” said 28-year-old Yamine Ouassini, whose grandparents emigrated to France from North Africa.

Jan 16, 2015

French resolve to act on world stage bolstered by attacks – Hollande

PARIS (Reuters) – Deadly Islamist attacks on France only reinforce its resolve to act on the international stage, intervening in world hotspots and using its diplomatic weight to help solve crises, President Francois Hollande said on Friday.

France, a permanent U.N. Security Council member and nuclear power, has thousands of troops hunting down al Qaeda-linked militants in Africa’s Sahel-Sahara region and is part of the U.S.-led coalition striking Islamic State fighters in Iraq.

Jan 13, 2015

Charlie Hebdo to publish Mohammad cartoon on front page

PARIS, BOBIGNY, France, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Charlie Hebdo
will publish a front page showing a caricature of the Prophet
Mohammad holding a sign saying “Je suis Charlie” in its first
edition since Islamist gunmen attacked the satirical newspaper.

With demand surging for the edition due on Wednesday, the
weekly planned to print up to 3 million copies, dwarfing its
usual run of 60,000, after newsagents reported a rush of orders.
International editions will be translated into 16 languages.

Jan 13, 2015

Islamic State must be wiped out – French defence minister

PARIS (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters must be wiped out, France’s defence minister said on Tuesday, indicating that Paris would not pull back from military operations overseas after 17 people were killed by home-grown militants in Paris last week.

After the United States, France has the largest number of planes and troops involved in the coalition fighting Islamic State, which last year took control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.