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Jan 12, 2014

Friends of Syria group urges opposition to attend Geneva talks

PARIS (Reuters) – The “Friends of Syria”, an alliance of mainly Western and Gulf Arab countries who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, urged opposition groups on Sunday to attend this month’s peace talks, saying there was no other route to a political solution.

With 10 days to go until the first direct talks between the opposition and President Bashar al-Assad’s government – set for January 22 in Switzerland and dubbed “Geneva 2″ – Western backers have struggled to unify rebel groups.

Jan 9, 2014

Japan urges ‘hotline’ with China, plays down shrine visit

PARIS (Reuters) – Japan, at odds with China on territorial and other issues, took its case to Europe on Thursday, defending Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to a war shrine and reiterating its call for an emergency hotline between Tokyo and Beijing.

Ties between the two Asian economic giants, never warm, were further strained last month when Abe visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals are enshrined with other war dead, angering China and South Korea.

Jan 8, 2014

Central African leader faces pressure to quit at Thursday summit

DJAMENA/PARIS (Reuters) – Central African Republic’s interim President Michel Djotodia will face pressure to step down at a summit of regional leaders on Thursday amid frustration at his failure to quell his country’s religious violence.

Political sources in Bangui and French diplomatic sources said Djotodia was expected to step aside at the meeting of leaders from the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) in the Chadian capital N’Djamena.

Dec 19, 2013

Dassault hopeful to seal India Rafale deal in coming months

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s defence minister played down another sales failure for the Dassault-made Rafale fighter jet in Brazil, saying he was confident there would soon be better news from tenders in India and Gulf Arab countries.

Built by Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), the Rafale has still not found a foreign buyer for its multi-role jet, billed to be one of the most effective and sophisticated fighter jets in the world, but also one of the most expensive.

Dec 19, 2013

France soothes nerves over Dassault jets after Brazil setback

PARIS, Dec 19 (Reuters) – France’s defence minister played
down another sales failure for the Dassault-made Rafale fighter
jet in Brazil, saying he was confident there would soon be
better news from tenders in India and Gulf Arab countries.

Built by Dassault Aviation, the Rafale has still
not found a foreign buyer for its multi-role jet, billed to be
one of the most effective and sophisticated fighter jets in the
world, but also one of the most expensive.

Dec 17, 2013

France says EU countries to send troops to C. African Republic

PARIS/BANGUI, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Some European countries
will send troops to support a French-African mission to restore
order in Central African Republic, French Foreign Minister
Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday, as more violence was reported
outside the capital Bangui.

France has deployed 1,600 troops to its former colony to
prevent worsening violence between Christian militias and
largely Muslim Seleka rebels who ousted ex-President Francois
Bozize.

Dec 17, 2013

France says EU countries to send troops to Central African Republic

PARIS/BANGUI (Reuters) – Some European countries will send troops to support a French-African mission to restore order in Central African Republic, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.

France has deployed 1,600 troops to its former colony to prevent worsening violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels who ousted ex-President Francois Bozize.

Dec 14, 2013

U.S., Britain have not helped Syrian rebels enough, Saudi prince says

MONACO (Reuters) – Opponents of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad have been at an impossible disadvantage since the start of the Syrian conflict because the United States and Britain refused to help them, an influential Saudi Arabian prince said on Saturday.

The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria on Thursday after reports that Islamic Front – a union of six major rebel groups – had taken buildings belonging to the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Syrian Military Council on the border with Turkey.

Dec 14, 2013

France, Africa must treat CAR conflict as war, ex-PM says

MONACO (Reuters) – French and African forces intervening in Central African Republic must wage war against the Seleka rebels and not just aim to restore security, a former prime minister said.

Anicet Dologuele, who plans to run for president in the next election, said interim authorities needed to do more to prevent the escalation in religious violence to help restore the people’s faith in the country’s politicians.

Dec 9, 2013

French troops may find Central African Republic mission easier than Mali

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s intervention to quell violence in Central African Republic may prove simpler militarily than the campaign it waged against al Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mali this year, defense experts said.

But, in a country the size of France, imposing state authority after decades of coups, rebellions and poor governance will take years and risks tying Paris down longer than it wants.