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May 8, 2014

French soldier dies in Mali as Paris readies counter-insurgency plan

PARIS (Reuters) – A French soldier has been killed in northern Mali as France prepares to deploy thousands of its troops across the region to better fight Islamist militancy, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday.

The soldier, the eighth to die in Mali since France intervened in its former colony in January 2013 to oust al-Qaeda linked militants controlling the north of the country, was killed after an explosive device went off under his vehicle, he told RMC radio.

May 7, 2014

France sends agents to Nigeria, boosts ties to fight Boko Haram

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Wednesday it was boosting intelligence ties with Nigeria and sending security service agents there to tackle Boko Haram after more than 200 girls were kidnapped by the Islamist group.

President Francois Hollande’s office said after he spoke by telephone with Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan that Paris would dispatch a specialised team in the coming hours to Abuja to help find the girls.

May 7, 2014

France offers to send agents to Nigeria for kidnapped girls

PARIS (Reuters) – France on Wednesday joined the United States and Britain in offering to send security service agents to Nigeria to help rescue more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

With more than 4,000 troops operating between Mali to the west and Central African Republic to the east, Paris has a major interest in preventing Nigeria’s security situation from deteriorating, having previously voiced concerns that Boko Haram could spread further north into the Sahel.

Apr 29, 2014

Seeking deals, France rolls out red carpet for Angolan leader

PARIS (Reuters) – French officials welcomed Angola’s president on Tuesday for the first time in 20 years, hailing his economic reforms in the clearest sign yet that Paris is turning its diplomatic focus to winning overseas contracts.

Relations were strained in the past decade after the “Angolagate” trial over arms sales to Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos’s MPLA party during the civil war in the 1990s, which a Paris court said broke a United Nations arms embargo.

Apr 29, 2014

Tunisian PM says economic reforms will be paced to avoid unrest

PARIS (Reuters) – Tunisia will not need to access financial markets to manage its budget deficit this year, its prime minister said on Tuesday, while ruling out harsh public spending cuts that could stoke popular unrest.

Three years after an uprising that inspired the “Arab Spring” revolutions, Tunisia has a new constitution and aims to hold elections this year.

Apr 22, 2014

France to unveil plan to fight Syrian jihadist threat

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s interior minister on Tuesday unveiled a raft of policies to stop its citizens joining the Syrian civil war, aiming to prevent young French Muslims becoming radicalized and posing a threat to their home country.

France, which has been a staunch opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, estimates the number of its nationals directly or indirectly involved in the Syrian conflict at about 700 of which a third are fighting against the government.

Apr 11, 2014

Darfur rebel says peacekeepers turning blind eye to new violence

PARIS (Reuters) – A veteran rebel leader from Sudan’s Darfur region accused international peacekeepers on Friday of turning a blind eye to what he called a renewed campaign of ethnic cleansing by government-backed Arab militias.

International efforts have largely failed to end violence in the arid western territory, more than 10 years after Khartoum unleashed militias to try and crush a rebellion by mostly non-Arab insurgents.

Apr 7, 2014

Bouteflika to focus on Algerian economic reform-official

PARIS, April 7 (Reuters) – Algerian President Abdelaziz
Bouteflika has recovered strongly enough from a stroke to govern
and will push economic reforms, including loosening restrictions
on foreign investors if re-elected this month, campaign
spokesman Amara Benyounes said.

Benyounes, who is also Industry and Investment Minister, was
campaigning in Paris on Sunday to win support among Algeria’s
largest disapora ahead of April 17 presidential polls.

Apr 3, 2014

Trade ministry spat mars first day for new French cabinet

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new government faced a first test of unity on Thursday as a power struggle broke out between Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and new Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg over control of trade policy.

This week’s announcement of a smaller 16-minister team under new Prime Minister Manuel Valls, France’s tough-talking former interior minister, was billed as a break with the chaotic past 22 months of President Francois Hollande’s first government.

Apr 3, 2014

Chad to withdraw troops from AU mission in Central African Republic

DJAMENA (Reuters) – Chad said on Thursday it would withdraw its troops from an African Union peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic, a setback to attempts to build a large international force to stem religious conflict in the impoverished country.

Chadian soldiers have been at the heart of African efforts to stabilize CAR but its forces have been accused of siding with the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels whose seizure of power last year sparked tit-for-tat violence with Christian militia.