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May 25, 2013

France rules out Iran taking part in Syrian peace talks

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister on Saturday ruled out Iran taking part in a proposed Syria peace conference, saying Tehran was involved in the conflict and had no desire for peace.

Laurent Fabius will host Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a dinner on Monday to discuss how to nudge Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition into the talks in Geneva.

May 23, 2013

France wants Hezbollah armed wing on EU terror list by end-June

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Thursday it hoped an initiative could be agreed by the end of June to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations on grounds the group is importing Syria’s war into Lebanon.

Paris has traditionally been cautious about backing steps to sanction Hezbollah, fearing it could destabilize Lebanon and put U.N. peacekeepers at risk, but in recent weeks has said it would consider all options.

May 18, 2013

Bidding nears for $9-14 bln Congo hydropower plant

PARIS, May 18 (Reuters) – Chinese, South Korean and Spanish
firms are vying to develop a hydropower project likely to cost
between $9 billion and $14 billion on the Congo River, Congolese
officials said on Saturday.

The planned Inga 3 scheme, which aims to overcome power
shortages that have curtailed economic growth in Africa, would
produce some 4,800 megawatts (MW) of electricity and is one of
the largest proposed power projects in Africa.

May 8, 2013

Chad emerges as African power broker as France steps back

PARIS/DAKAR (Reuters) – Chad’s President Idriss Deby, a survivor of countless rebellions, has stepped into a void left by Africa’s traditional heavyweights and turned his desert nation into a powerbroker as France disengages from its former colonies.

The success of Chad’s 2,000 battle-hardened troops in a French-led mission to hunt down al Qaeda fighters in the deserts of northern Mali has marked it out as the only African nation to quickly deploy an effective fighting force.

May 2, 2013

Niger urges foreign help to rid Libya of armed Islamists

PARIS (Reuters) – Niger’s foreign minister urged major powers on Thursday to act against Islamist militants who had found shelter in Libya’s vast southern desert and, he said, posed a growing threat to neighbouring countries.

Mohamed Bazoum, in Paris to meet his French counterpart Laurent Fabius, said Niger had information that Islamists who had been driven out of northern Mali by a French-led intervention force were setting up bases in Libya’s lawless south.

May 1, 2013

French minister says Yahoo wanted to “devour” website

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s industry minister said he had blocked Yahoo Inc’s (YHOO.O: Quote, Profile, Research) plan to buy a majority stake in online video website Dailymotion because the U.S. group wanted to “devour” its smaller competitor.

Yahoo, which declined to comment, had been in talks to acquire a 75 percent stake in Dailymotion, owned by France Telecom’s Orange (FTE.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), a deal that would have valued Europe’s largest video website at $300 million.

May 1, 2013

France wanted Yahoo as equal partner in Dailymotion

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s industry minister said on Wednesday that Yahoo Inc’s plan to buy a majority stake in online video website Dailymotion from France Telecom would not have benefited the two companies.

“The minister expressed his desire that a partnership between Yahoo and Orange (France Telecom) be built on an equal basis that would be beneficial to both sides,” Arnaud Montebourg’s office said in a statement.

Apr 29, 2013

France, keen to boost military strength, avoids defence cuts

PARIS, April 29 (Reuters) – France will keep its defence
budget at the same level for the next six years after the
government decided that proposed cuts would hamper its ability
to mount military operations such as its intervention in Mali.

The freeze will still lead to the loss of 34,000 jobs in the
defence ministry at a time of growing unemployment in France,
according to a strategic review announced on Monday.

Apr 24, 2013

Mali’s Tuareg rebels reject elections, disarming before talks

PARIS (Reuters) – Mali’s Tuareg separatist rebels dismissed French calls to disarm ahead of July elections on Wednesday saying they would fight to the death if Malian troops entered areas under its control, underscoring the challenge of unifying the West African state.

Mahamadou Djeri Maiga, the group’s vice-president and chief negotiator, said Paris had a moral obligation to force the interim Malian government to the negotiating table to flesh out a deal that would create a framework for autonomy in the north and provide international guarantees.

Apr 23, 2013

Compromise seen on Western Sahara allowing U.N. mission extension

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States has dropped demands for human rights observers in Western Sahara, diplomats said on Tuesday, paving the way for a compromise that would allow the U.N. mission in the disputed territory to be extended for another year.

Western Sahara, a tract of desert the size of Britain that has lucrative phosphate reserves and potentially offshore oil, is the focus of Africa’s longest-running territorial dispute, between Morocco and pro-independence Polisario guerrillas.