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Jun 12, 2013

Khamenei is erasing Iran’s presidency, Bani-Sadr says

VERSAILLES, France (Reuters) – Exiled former Iranian president Abolhassan Bani-Sadr accused Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday of using this week’s presidential election to weaken the office and cement his own power.

Bani-Sadr, a sworn opponent of Tehran’s clerical rulers ever since being driven from office and fleeing in 1981, told Reuters in an interview that the six remaining candidates in Friday’s poll were separated by only shades of difference on policy.

Jun 4, 2013

France says Syria government used sarin

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that there was no doubt the Syrian government had used nerve agent sarin against rebels, and that all options, including military action, were under consideration.

Increasing reports from the battlefield of the use of chemical weapons have lent urgency to a new diplomatic push to end the war and fuelled some calls for Western intervention in the conflict.

Jun 4, 2013

France says Syrian govt used sarin, all options on table

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that there was no doubt the Syrian government had used nerve agent sarin against rebels, and that all options, including military action, were under consideration.

Increasing reports from the battlefield of the use of chemical weapons have lent urgency to a new diplomatic push to end the war and fuelled some calls for Western intervention in the conflict.

Jun 4, 2013

Mali wants Sahel nations to do more about Islamist threat

PARIS (Reuters) – Mali’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that nations in the Sahara were not doing enough to stop an Islamist threat spreading across the region and urged more intelligence-sharing and joint military operations.

In an interview with Reuters, Tieman Coulibaly also accused Mali’s Tuareg separatist rebels of “Ku Klux Klan” abuses by persecuting non-Tuaregs in Kidal and said this did not bode well for talks aimed at including the northeastern town in next month’s election of a new president to complete a post-coup transition to democracy.

Jun 4, 2013

France says is certain nerve gas sarin used in Syria

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Tuesday it was certain the nerve agent sarin had been used in Syria on several occasions following tests it carried out on samples recovered there.

Increasing reports from the battlefield of the use of chemical weapons have lent urgency to a new diplomatic push to end the war and fuelled some calls for Western intervention in the conflict.

May 31, 2013

France says south Libya Islamists likely behind embassy attack

PARIS (Reuters) – Islamist rebels based in southern Libya were most likely to have been behind an attack on France’s embassy in Tripoli last month, but there were no plans to intervene in the lawless desert region, President Francois Hollande said on Friday.

France, which led international efforts to oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, is concerned that foreign Islamist fighters who escaped after Paris’ intervention in Mali in January are now regrouping in southern Libya.

May 29, 2013

U.N. investigators say most Syria rebels not seeking democracy

PARIS (Reuters) – Most Syrian rebel fighters do not want democracy and the country’s civil war is producing ever worse atrocities and increasing radicalization, independent U.N. investigators said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro said his team of investigators had documented horrific crimes on both sides, although the scale of those committed by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces was greater.

May 28, 2013

UK, France say can arm Syria rebels now but no immediate plans

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – Britain and France said on Tuesday they did not have to wait until August 1 to arm rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, contradicting European Union officials, but both countries stressed they had no plans to do so yet.

EU governments failed to renew an EU arms embargo on Monday due to differences in opinion, opening the way for Britain and France to supply weapons. But EU officials said the two countries had made a commitment not to do so before August 1.

May 28, 2013

France analysing samples of suspected Syrian chemical weapon elements

PARIS, May 28 (Reuters) – France is testing samples of
suspected chemical weapon elements used against Syrian rebel
fighters and smuggled out by reporters from Le Monde newspaper
and will divulge the results in the next few days, a senior
French official said on Monday.

The official also said Paris recently carried out its own
tests on other samples it had obtained that had indicated the
use of battlefield gas.

May 28, 2013

Lavrov says convening Syria conference ‘a tall order’

PARIS (Reuters) – Holding a conference to end Syria’s civil war will be a “tall order”, Russia’s foreign minister said on Monday after talks with his U.S. counterpart, but he saw some chance of success.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said they would do their utmost to bring Syria’s warring parties to the table, as fighting intensified and new allegations of chemical weapons use surfaced.