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Sep 26, 2013

Western envoys tout deal on core of U.N. Syria draft, Russia denies it

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Envoys from the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain have come to an agreement on the core of a U.N. Security Council resolution to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons, three Western diplomats said on Wednesday, but Russia denied such an accord had been reached and insisted work was “still going on.”

Diplomats from the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council have been haggling over the details of a resolution to back an accord hammered out by Russia and the United States on September 14 in Geneva to eliminate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal.

Sep 25, 2013

France pushes for U.N. action on Central African Republic

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister called on Wednesday for the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution next month to boost U.N. operations in the Central African Republic, which he said risked becoming a new Somalia if it did not get immediate support.

The landlocked, mineral-rich Central African Republic, or CAR, has slipped into chaos since northern Seleka rebels seized the capital, Bangui, and ousted President Francois Bozize in March. U.N. officials and rights groups say both sides may have committed war crimes.

Sep 25, 2013

U.S., Russia, other powers agree on core of U.N. Syria resolution: diplomats

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – After weeks of haggling, the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain have agreed on the core of a U.N. Security Council resolution to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, two Western diplomats said on Wednesday, but Russia denied such an agreement.

The agreement came after the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the council met over lunch with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier in the day, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sep 24, 2013

French leader meets Iran’s Rouhani, demands ‘concrete’ nuclear steps

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande became the first Western leader to meet new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday after warning that Paris expects “concrete gestures” by Iran to show it will give up a military nuclear program.

France has been a strong advocate of sanctions to pressure Iran over its nuclear program but has been cautious in its statements since Rouhani, a relative moderate, was elected in June.

Sep 23, 2013

France expects U.N. council to agree on Syria arms measure

UNITED NATIONS/SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister said on Monday he expects the U.N. Security Council to agree on a resolution to enforce the chemical weapons deal with Syria and appeared to back off French calls for the measure to threaten force against President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria’s civil war is a top agenda item as world leaders gather this week for the annual U.N. General Assembly. Envoys from the five big U.N. powers – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – have been meeting to negotiate a resolution to back the U.S.-Russian deal reached in Geneva this month to remove Syria’s chemical weapons by June 2014.

Sep 23, 2013

France says urgent action needed to aid Central African Republic

NEW YORK (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister said on Monday there was an urgent need to tackle the crisis in the Central African Republic and called for strengthening an African peacekeeping force.

Speaking to reporters at the United Nations, Laurent Fabius warned that a lack of international response risked destabilizing the entire region.

Sep 23, 2013

France expects U.N. Security Council to agree Syria resolution

NEW YORK (Reuters) – France said on Monday it expected the U.N. Security Council to agree on a resolution to enforce a chemical weapons deal with Syria and appeared to give up on its previous calls to have a resolution threatening force against President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia accused the West on Sunday of trying to exploit the deal between Moscow and Washington with Syria to push through a council resolution issued under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which could authorize sanctions or military intervention if Damascus reneges on its commitments.

Sep 17, 2013

Syria: A chemical crime, a complex reaction

PARIS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In early spring France’s ambassador to the United Nations dined with a Russian colleague and discussed the crisis in Syria.

Ambassador Gerard Araud told the Russian diplomat France was going to go public with proof from its intelligence services that Syria’s government was using chemical weapons against its own people. The Russian diplomat laughed, according to a source familiar with the meeting. “Gerard,” he told his counterpart, “don’t embarrass the Americans.”

Sep 17, 2013

Special Report: Syria – A chemical crime, a complex reaction

PARIS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In early spring France’s ambassador to the United Nations dined with a Russian colleague and discussed the crisis in Syria.

Ambassador Gerard Araud told the Russian diplomat France was going to go public with proof from its intelligence services that Syria’s government was using chemical weapons against its own people. The Russian diplomat laughed, according to a source familiar with the meeting. “Gerard,” he told his counterpart, “don’t embarrass the Americans.”

Sep 16, 2013

Western powers say Syria must face consequences for non-compliance

PARIS, Sept 16 (Reuters) – France, Britain and the United
States called on Monday for a swift U.N. resolution committing
Syria to remove its chemical weapons, but Russia introduced a
note of caution about imposing strong consequences if President
Bashar al-Assad failed to comply.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed that an
accord reached at the weekend with Russian counterpart Sergei
Lavrov targeted a U.N. resolution referring to sanctions for
non-compliance, including a new Security Council resolution.