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May 4, 2015

France, Saudi Arabia: Iran nuclear deal must avoid destabilizing region

RIYADH (Reuters) – France and Saudi Arabia believe that any future deal between Iran and six major powers must ensure not to destabilise the region further and threaten Iran’s neighbours, the two countries said ahead of a summit in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia invited French President Francois Hollande, whose country is deemed to have a tough stance in Iran nuclear negotiations, to Riyadh to discuss regional issues with Gulf Arab leaders who fear a rapprochement with Tehran could lead to further detribalization in the region.

May 4, 2015

France, Qatar sign Rafale deal, Hollande hails Gulf ties

DOHA (Reuters) – France and Qatar signed a 6.3 billion euro ($7.02 billion) deal on Monday for the sale of 24 Rafale fighter jets, an accord President Francois Hollande hailed as a mark of Gulf Arab regard for French regional strategy including its firm line on Iran.

The contract – the third this year for Dassault AVMD.PA after deals to sell Rafale jets to Egypt and India – also includes MBDA missiles, and the training of 36 Qatari pilots and 100 technicians by the French military.

May 1, 2015

Activists bare breasts to disrupt Le Pen’s May Day speech in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – Three bare-breasted women making Nazi salutes disrupted a May Day speech by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen as she accused her political rivals of failing to tackle immigration and radical Islam.

The women from the Femen activist group, with “Heil Le Pen” and “Stop Fascism” written on their breasts, chanted anti-National Front slogans from the balcony of a five-star hotel room overlooking the stage, to boos from the crowd.

May 1, 2015

Iran stance and regional policy bring French leader Gulf Arab rewards

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s tough line in talks with Iran and a similar analysis to Gulf Arab states on regional crises has sealed strategic new links in the Middle East that will be cemented when President Francois Hollande attends a regional leaders’ summit next week.

Those ties, which Paris has sought to nurture since Hollande came to power in 2012 – were highlighted on Thursday when Qatar agreed to buy French-made Rafale fighter jets in a 6.3-billion-euro ($7 billion) deal.

Apr 30, 2015

France and Qatar seal $7 billion Rafale fighter jet deal

PARIS (Reuters) – Qatar has agreed to buy 24 Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter jets in a deal worth 6.3 billion euros ($7 billion), the French government said on Thursday, as the Gulf Arab state looks to boost its military firepower amid regional instability.

Tensions in the Middle East with conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Libya, as well as concerns of Iran’s growing influence in the area, have fueled a desire across Sunni Gulf Arab states to modernize their military hardware.

Apr 29, 2015

France lifts defence budget to tackle multiple threats

PARIS, April 29 (Reuters) – France will increase its defence
budget by 3.8 billion euros ($4.2 billion) over four years from
2016 to ensure the army can tackle problems at home and maintain
missions abroad, notably in Africa and the Middle East,
President Francois Hollande said.

“France is facing big threats internally and externally,”
Hollande told reporters on Wednesday after a defence cabinet
meeting. “Security, protection and independence are principles
that are not negotiable.”

Apr 10, 2015

India orders 36 French-made Rafale fighter jets – PM Modi

PARIS (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday he had ordered 36 “ready-to-fly” French-made Rafale fighter jets to modernise his country’s ageing warplane fleet as neighbouring states upgraded their military hardware.

Indian military officials have warned that their air force risks a major capability gap opening up with China and Pakistan without new western warplanes or if local defence contractors cannot produce what the military needs in a timely manner.

Apr 10, 2015

India on verge of deal for French Rafale jets: sources

PARIS (Reuters) – India is close to finalizing a deal for dozens of Rafale fighter jets during its Prime Minister’s visit to France on Friday, four French officials said, an agreement that would come after three years of talks between the two countries on a larger contract.

Le Monde newspaper reported earlier on Friday that talks centered on the purchase of 63 Rafale jets for 7.2 billion euros ($7.7 billion).

Apr 2, 2015

Framework for final deal reached at Iran nuclear talks

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, April 2 (Reuters) – Iran and world
powers reached a framework agreement on Thursday on curbing
Iran’s nuclear programme for at least a decade after eight days
of marathon talks in Switzerland.

The tentative agreement clears the way for talks on a future
comprehensive settlement that should allay Western fears that
Iran was seeking to build an atomic bomb and in return lift
economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Apr 2, 2015

Iran talks stretch into another day, deal close but elusive

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, April 2 (Reuters) – The prospects for
a preliminary agreement between Iran and world powers on
Tehran’s nuclear programme were finely balanced between success
and collapse on Thursday, diplomats said.

The negotiations, aimed at blocking Iran’s capacity to build
a nuclear bomb in exchange for the lifting of sanctions on the
country, are bogged down over details of the accord even though
the broad outlines of an agreement have been reached.