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Dec 5, 2014

France to pay $60 million for Holocaust victims deported by state rail firm

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Friday it had agreed to put $60 million into a fund managed by the United States to compensate Holocaust victims deported by French state rail firm SNCF to Nazi death camps, a deal that protects it from future U.S. litigation.

About 76,000 Jews were arrested in France during World War Two and transported in appalling conditions in railway boxcars to concentration camps such as Auschwitz, where most died.

Dec 5, 2014

Revenge killings in Central African Republic leave at least 14 dead

BANGUI/PARIS (Reuters) – At least 14 people have been killed in tit-for-tat sectarian violence in Central African Republic, a Red Cross official said on Friday, and hundreds of Christians have sought shelter in the main church in the central town of Bambari.

Muslim youths had rampaged through Christian districts after a Muslim taxi driver was killed in revenge for a Seleka rebel shooting a soldier in Bambari two days before, Mandaba Delphin, head of the Red Cross in Bambari, told Reuters by telephone.

Dec 4, 2014

France begins withdrawing Central Africa troops as U.N. deploys

PARIS (Reuters) – France is withdrawing troops from Central African Republic as a United Nations peacekeeping force nears its full deployment, but will keep a presence to support the U.N. with a rapid reaction force, officials and diplomats said.

France has 2,000 troops in its former colony after intervening a year ago to stem violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels, who took power.

Dec 2, 2014

French parliament votes for recognition of Palestinian state

PARIS (Reuters) – French lawmakers on Thursday urged their government to recognise Palestine, a symbolic move that will not immediately affect France’s diplomatic stance but demonstrates growing European impatience with a stalled peace process.

While most developing countries recognise Palestine as a state, most Western European countries do not, supporting the Israeli and U.S. position that an independent Palestinian state should emerge from negotiations with Israel.

Dec 1, 2014

French parliament to call for recognition of Palestinian state

PARIS (Reuters) – French lawmakers are set to vote on Tuesday to call on the government to recognize Palestine, a symbolic move that will not immediately affect France’s diplomatic stance but demonstrates growing European impatience with a stalled peace process.

While most developing countries recognize Palestine as a state, most Western European countries do not, supporting the Israeli and U.S. position that an independent Palestinian state should emerge from negotiations with Israel.

Nov 28, 2014

Eyeing deadline, France to back Palestinian state if peace talks fail

PARIS (Reuters) – France warned on Friday it would recognise a Palestinian state if a final international effort to overcome the impasse between Israelis and Palestinians failed, and proposed a two-year timeframe to end the conflict through a U.N.-backed resolution.

Lawmakers will hold a symbolic parliamentary vote on Dec. 2 on whether the French government should recognise Palestine as a state, a move that the Israeli Prime Minister has called a “grave mistake”.

Nov 28, 2014

France to recognize Palestinian state if peace talks fail

PARIS (Reuters) – France warned on Friday it would recognize a Palestinian state if an international effort to overcome the impasse between Israelis and Palestinians failed, and proposed a two-year timeframe to end the conflict through a U.N.-backed resolution.

Lawmakers will hold a symbolic parliamentary vote on Dec. 2 on whether the French government should recognize Palestine as a state, a move that the Israeli Prime Minister has called a “grave mistake”. But that would not mark a toplevel change in French policy.

Nov 24, 2014

Iran’s Rouhani says two sides’ positions closer after nuclear talks

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the positions of Tehran and six major powers over its nuclear programme had come closer after a week of marathon talks that failed to clinch a final agreement.

“During the talks in Vienna many gaps were narrowed and our positions with the other side got closer,” Rouhani told Iranian state television.

Nov 23, 2014

Iran, powers set to miss nuclear talks deadline, seek extension

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran, the United States and other world powers are all but certain to miss Monday’s deadline for negotiations to resolve a 12-year stand-off over Tehran’s atomic ambitions, forcing them to seek an extension, sources say.

The talks in Vienna could lead to a transformation of the Middle East, open the door to ending economic sanctions on Iran and start to bring a nation of 76 million people in from the cold after decades of hostility with the West.

Nov 22, 2014

Iran nuclear talks may be extended as U.S. sees ‘big gaps’

VIENNA (Reuters) – World powers and Iran struggled on Saturday to overcome crucial differences that are preventing them from ending a 12-year standoff over Tehran’s atomic ambitions, raising the prospect of another extension to the high-stake talks.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “big gaps” remained with two days to go before a self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline for an accord, despite signs of some headway. A European source said the likelihood of a final deal by Monday was “very small”.