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Oct 10, 2013

Ex-Central African Republic head seeks support in Africa: source

PARIS (Reuters) – Deposed former Central African Republic President Francois Bozize is in east Africa in all likelihood seeking support to regain power, a senior French diplomatic source said on Thursday.

Bozize, who ruled the former French colony for a decade, fled to Cameroon in March after rebels captured the riverside capital Bangui. He arrived in France in July and told media he nurtured ambitions of returning to power.

Oct 10, 2013

France says its forces kill 10 Islamist militants in Mali

PARIS (Reuters) – French special forces killed around 10 militants in a gun battle in northern Mali this month, Paris said on Thursday, as simmering violence threatens security at November elections and will delay a French troop withdrawal.

France, which sent soldiers to its former colony in January to oust militants who had taken over swathes of the West African country, will not draw down troop numbers to 1,000, from 3,200 by year-end as initially planned, a spokesman confirmed.

Oct 3, 2013

French military prepares 2014 cuts, far-right seeks to benefit

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s military will cut almost 8,000 jobs next year, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday, detailing government belt-tightening plans that the far-right hopes will deliver it votes at municipal elections in 2014.

The cuts come as tensions rise within the 17-month-old coalition of Socialist President Francois Hollande, whose satisfaction ratings have fallen to 23 percent due to concerns about a stalled economy and high unemployment.

Oct 3, 2013

France military eyes 2014 cuts, far-right seeks to benefit

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s military will cut about 7,500 jobs next year, a defense ministry source said on Thursday, detailing government belt-tightening plans that the far-right hopes will deliver it votes at municipal elections in 2014.

The cuts come as tensions rise within Socialist President Francois Hollande’s 17-month-old coalition, whose poll ratings have fallen to 23 percent due to dissatisfaction about the economy and jobs.

Sep 28, 2013

U.N. Security Council demands elimination of Syria chemical arms

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution on Friday that demands the eradication of Syria’s chemical weapons but does not threaten automatic punitive action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government if it does not comply.

The unanimous vote by the 15-member Security Council ended weeks of intense diplomacy between Russia and the United States. It was based on a deal between the two countries reached in Geneva earlier this month following an August 21 sarin nerve gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds.

Sep 27, 2013

Syria rebels struggle to rally practical backing on U.N. stage

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – International opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reaffirmed support for the country’s opposition coalition at the U.N. General Assembly this week, but with rebel forces splitting and delivery of weapons slow, the coalition looks increasingly marginalized.

After weeks of frustration as the international community turned its attention to negotiating a deal to rid Assad of his chemical weapons, the Syrian National Coalition, or SNC, had hoped to use the annual meeting to push its cause.

Sep 27, 2013

U.N. Security Council set to vote on Syria chemical weapons resolution

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council is set to adopt a resolution on Friday on eradicating Syria’s chemical arsenal after Russia and the United States overcame a bitter deadlock to avert U.S. military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Amid newfound unity of the veto-wielding council members – Russia, China, France, the United States and Britain – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he hopes a date will also be agreed on Friday for so-called Geneva 2 peace talks on Syria.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S., Russia agree on Syria U.N. chemical arms measure

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Ending weeks of diplomatic deadlock, the United States and Russia reached an agreement on Thursday on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at ridding Syria of its chemical weapons arsenal.

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said a deal was struck with Russia “legally obligating” Syria to give up its chemical stockpile and the measure would go to the full Security Council on Thursday night. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said an “understanding” had been hammered out.

Sep 26, 2013

U.S., China want quick, binding U.N. resolution on Syria, U.S. says

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 26 (Reuters) – The United States and
China strongly agree on the need for the U.N. Security Council
to quickly adopt a binding resolution on eradicating Syria’s
chemical weapons arsenal, a senior U.S. official said on
Thursday in remarks that appeared aimed at putting pressure on
Russia to accept the measure.

Russia appeared unswayed. When asked if diplomats were close
to a deal on a Syria resolution, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov told reporters at the United Nations, “Russia’s very
close, the U.S. is not.”

Sep 26, 2013

Mali says Sahel needs rapid reaction force to fight Islamists

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Mali’s newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita called on Thursday for nations in the Sahara region to create a regional multilateral force that could intervene quickly to respond to the ongoing Islamist threat across the area.

Attacks in Niger, growing instability in southern Libya and clashes between Tunisian government troops and Islamist militants have shown how al-Qaeda-linked rebels have taken advantage of a security vacuum in the region since French-led forces intervened in Mali earlier this year to oust them.