John's Feed
Jun 4, 2013

France says is certain nerve gas sarin used in Syria

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Tuesday it was certain the nerve agent sarin had been used in Syria on several occasions following tests it carried out on samples recovered there.

Increasing reports from the battlefield of the use of chemical weapons have lent urgency to a new diplomatic push to end the war and fuelled some calls for Western intervention in the conflict.

May 31, 2013

France says south Libya Islamists likely behind embassy attack

PARIS (Reuters) – Islamist rebels based in southern Libya were most likely to have been behind an attack on France’s embassy in Tripoli last month, but there were no plans to intervene in the lawless desert region, President Francois Hollande said on Friday.

France, which led international efforts to oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, is concerned that foreign Islamist fighters who escaped after Paris’ intervention in Mali in January are now regrouping in southern Libya.

May 29, 2013

U.N. investigators say most Syria rebels not seeking democracy

PARIS (Reuters) – Most Syrian rebel fighters do not want democracy and the country’s civil war is producing ever worse atrocities and increasing radicalization, independent U.N. investigators said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Brazilian expert Paulo Pinheiro said his team of investigators had documented horrific crimes on both sides, although the scale of those committed by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces was greater.

May 28, 2013

UK, France say can arm Syria rebels now but no immediate plans

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – Britain and France said on Tuesday they did not have to wait until August 1 to arm rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, contradicting European Union officials, but both countries stressed they had no plans to do so yet.

EU governments failed to renew an EU arms embargo on Monday due to differences in opinion, opening the way for Britain and France to supply weapons. But EU officials said the two countries had made a commitment not to do so before August 1.

May 28, 2013

France analysing samples of suspected Syrian chemical weapon elements

PARIS, May 28 (Reuters) – France is testing samples of
suspected chemical weapon elements used against Syrian rebel
fighters and smuggled out by reporters from Le Monde newspaper
and will divulge the results in the next few days, a senior
French official said on Monday.

The official also said Paris recently carried out its own
tests on other samples it had obtained that had indicated the
use of battlefield gas.

May 28, 2013

Lavrov says convening Syria conference ‘a tall order’

PARIS (Reuters) – Holding a conference to end Syria’s civil war will be a “tall order”, Russia’s foreign minister said on Monday after talks with his U.S. counterpart, but he saw some chance of success.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said they would do their utmost to bring Syria’s warring parties to the table, as fighting intensified and new allegations of chemical weapons use surfaced.

May 27, 2013

Kerry, Lavrov meet to discuss Syrian peace talks

PARIS (Reuters) – The U.S. and Russian foreign ministers met on Monday to discuss a planned conference aimed at ending Syria’s civil war against a backdrop of widening regional violence and new allegations of chemical weapons use.

John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov began one-on-one discussions in Paris, a U.S. official said, with such issues as when to hold the meeting on Syria, how to bring the warring parties to the table and whether to include Iran all likely to be on the table.

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.