John's Feed
Jan 30, 2013

France says Mali authorities must begin talks with north

PARIS (Reuters) – Mali’s interim government in Bamako must begin immediate talks with the country’s northern population including armed groups that recognize the territorial integrity of the West African state, France said on Wednesday.

“The Malian authorities must begin without delay talks with the legitimate representatives of the northern population and non-terrorist armed groups that recognize Mali’s integrity,” French Foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said.

Jan 28, 2013

France fears Islamist rise in Syria unless opposition helped

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister said on Monday Syria risks falling into the hands of Islamist militant groups if supporters of the Syrian opposition do not do more to help it in a 22-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

Addressing the opening of a conference in Paris with senior members of the Syrian National Coalition, Laurent Fabius said the meeting must focus on making the opposition politically and militarily cohesive to encourage international assistance.

Jan 25, 2013

France is “enemy number 1″ for jihadists after Mali, judge says

PARIS (Reuters) – The rise of Islamist militants in Mali has been “a rallying cry” for potential jihadists in France, but an attack on French soil is unlikely in the short term, France’s top anti-terrorism judge said on Friday.

France launched air strikes and deployed thousands of ground troops in Mali this month to drive back al Qaeda-linked rebels it fears will turn its former colony into a launch pad to attack French political and economic interests.

Jan 25, 2013

France is “enemy number 1″ for jihadists after Mali: judge

PARIS (Reuters) – The rise of Islamist militants in Mali has been “a rallying cry” for potential jihadists in France, but an attack on French soil is unlikely in the short term, France’s top anti-terrorism judge said on Friday.

France launched air strikes and deployed thousands of ground troops in Mali this month to drive back al Qaeda-linked rebels it fears will turn its former colony into a launch pad to attack French political and economic interests.

Jan 25, 2013

West’s fears over Syria Islamists mount as coalition flounders

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) – Western concern over the growing strength of jihadist rebels in Syria is mounting, hindering aid to the moderate Syrian National Coalition opposition and possibly pushing it into the arms of religiously conservative backers, diplomatic sources said.

The widely recognized coalition has failed to gain traction on the ground in Syria since being formed in November, its credibility undermined by its failure to secure arms and cash in the battle to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Jan 24, 2013

France sees no sign Syria’s Assad will be toppled soon

PARIS/BEIRUT (Reuters) – France said on Thursday there were no signs that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is about to be overthrown, something Paris has been saying for months was just over the horizon.

The uprising against Assad’s rule is now almost two years old. 60,000 Syrians have been killed and another 650,000 are now refugees abroad, according to the United Nations.

Jan 13, 2013

Mali: one African war France could not avoid

PARIS (Reuters) – Just as its leaders were defining a new “hands-off” strategy for Africa, France has been thrust onto the front line of one of the continent’s riskiest battlefields deep in the desert of Mali.

President Francois Hollande’s backing of air strikes to halt Islamist rebels advancing on the capital Bamako raises the threat level for eight French hostages held by al Qaeda allies in the Sahara and for the 30,000 French expatriates living in neighbouring, mostly Muslim states.

Jan 13, 2013

Analysis: Mali – one African war France could not avoid

PARIS (Reuters) – Just as its leaders were defining a new “hands-off” strategy for Africa, France has been thrust onto the front line of one of the continent’s riskiest battlefields deep in the desert of Mali.

President Francois Hollande’s backing of air strikes to halt Islamist rebels advancing on the capital Bamako raises the threat level for eight French hostages held by al Qaeda allies in the Sahara and for the 30,000 French expatriates living in neighboring, mostly Muslim states.

Jan 13, 2013

France believes hostage killed in Somalia rescue bid

PARIS/MOGADISHU (Reuters) – France sent special forces into Somalia to rescue a secret agent but insurgents apparently killed their hostage during the raid along with a commando, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday.

The intelligence agency team flew into southern Somalia by helicopter under cover of darkness to try to free Denis Allex, held since 2009, by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, on the same day France launched air strikes against Islamist militants in Mali.

Jan 13, 2013

France bombs Mali rebels, African states ready troops

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – French aircraft pounded Islamist rebels in Mali for a second day on Saturday and neighboring West African states sped up their plans to deploy troops in an international campaign to prevent groups linked to al Qaeda expanding their power base.

France, warning that the control of northern Mali by the militants posed a security threat to Europe, intervened dramatically on Friday as heavily armed Islamist fighters swept southwards towards Mali’s capital Bamako.