PARIS/ALGIERS (Reuters) – Fifty years after Algeria won independence, France’s new president, Francois Hollande, finally appears ready to express regret over one of the bloodiest episodes in its colonial history.
The trauma of the 1954-1962 Algerian war, in which hundreds of thousands were killed or uprooted, left deep scars in both societies, stalling a potential economic and political partnership that could help revive the Mediterranean basin.
BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Angela Merkel was portrayed across Europe as the big loser of a euro zone showdown in Brussels after the German chancellor was forced to accept the crisis-fighting measures championed by countries struggling with their debts.
Newspapers in Spain, Italy and France on Saturday toasted the triumph of their leaders – Mario Monti, Mariano Rajoy and Francois Hollande – in pushing Merkel into a U-turn that would long have been unthinkable.
PARIS (Reuters) – Islamist governments which were swept to power in the Arab Spring uprisings must ensure that democracy becomes firmly rooted across the region, novelist Amin Maalouf said on Friday.
“The people who have come to power must now be made responsible,” the French-Lebanese writer told Reuters. “We have to firstly tell them that they have the responsibility to preserve democracy and human rights and, secondly, to succeed.”
VILLEPINTE, France (Reuters) – An Iranian dissident leader urged major powers on Saturday to stop appeasing Tehran and start supporting opposition groups after the latest round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program ended in deadlock.
Maryam Rajavi, who heads the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), also accused the United States of dragging its heels on a decision to remove her group from its terrorist list.
TOULOUSE, France, June 20 (Reuters) – A man who said he was
a member of al Qaeda and armed with explosives was holding
several people hostage in a bank in the southwestern French city
of Toulouse on Wednesday, police said.
He released one of the hostages in exchange for food and
water in the early afternoon.
PHNOM PENH/PARIS (Reuters) – A French architect connected to China’s biggest political scandal in two decades has been arrested in Cambodia, police and diplomats said on Tuesday.
Patrick Henri Devillers, 52, is one of two Westerners in China known to have had close business ties to the family of deposed Chinese politician Bo Xilai. He also had a close personal relationship with Bo’s wife, who is accused of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood.
PARIS/OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Europe should get involved directly to help solve the worsening crisis in Mali and the Sahel once the U.N. Security Council endorses an African request to allow the use of force in the country, France’s defense minister said on Monday.
The push for greater EU involvement came as Islamist group Ansar Dine, which appears to have the upper hand among rebel groups occupying northern Mali, confirmed it was in talks with mediators from West African regional bloc ECOWAS.
PARIS (Reuters) – France is considering providing communications equipment to Syrian rebels to encourage a “stronger revolt” against President Bashar al-Assad’s government as major powers look for an alternative to a U.N. peace plan, its foreign minister said.
Laurent Fabius said France fully supported Arab League-U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan’s roadmap for ending 15 months of violence, but it was also looking at other options.
PARIS (Reuters) – France will propose making United Nations envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan for Syria obligatory by invoking the U.N.’s “Chapter 7″ provision, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday, describing the conflict there as a “civil war”.
Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter allows the Security Council to authorize actions ranging from sanctions to military intervention. But Russia and China have previously vetoed two strong Security Council resolutions against Syria.
PARIS/BEIRUT (Reuters) – France will propose giving the United Nations the power to enforce Kofi Annan’s Syrian peace plan, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday, adding that a no-fly zone was an option under consideration to stem what was now a civil war.
His comments were the toughest yet from a major power in response to the relentless violence in Syria, where many hundreds of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed since an April 12 ceasefire was supposed open up a chance for political talks to resolve the crisis.