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Nov 20, 2012

Mauritania’s Aziz to return home Saturday post shooting

PARIS (Reuters) – Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz will return home on Saturday after recovering in Paris from what he says was an accidental shooting last month.

Aziz, an ally of the West in its fight against al Qaeda in Africa, was flown to France on October 14 after a military patrol fired on his convoy by accidental, according to the official version of events.

Nov 20, 2012

Mauritania’s Aziz to return home on Saturday after shooting

PARIS, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould
Abdel Aziz will return home on Saturday after recovering in
Paris from what he says was a shooting accident last month.

Aziz, an ally of the West in its fight against al Qaeda in
Africa, was flown to France on Oct. 14 after his government said
a military patrol had fired on his convoy accidentally.

Nov 19, 2012

France eyes Middle East influence, image with Syria gamble

PARIS, Nov 19 (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande’s
decision to recognise Syria’s new opposition bloc aims to secure
long-term French interests in the region and boost his foreign
policy image but, with few allies following suit, Paris may risk
isolation.

With his economic policies under harsh scrutiny at home and
abroad, Hollande’s hesitant response to the Syria conflict
before last week had been unflatteringly compared to the
decisive approach of predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy when he led
Western efforts to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Nov 16, 2012

Mali war against Islamists unlikely before mid-2013

DAKAR/PARIS (Reuters) – Any foreign-backed offensive to retake control of northern Mali from al Qaeda-linked Islamists will take at least six months to prepare, plans seen by Reuters show, a delay that runs counter to the expectations of many Malians.

The timing allows space for talks aimed at fragmenting the Islamist militias and stabilising a shaky Bamako government, but it risks giving Islamist hardliners an opportunity to dig in.

Nov 16, 2012

Exclusive: Mali war against Islamists unlikely before mid-2013

DAKAR/PARIS (Reuters) – Any foreign-backed offensive to retake control of northern Mali from al Qaeda-linked Islamists will take at least six months to prepare, plans seen by Reuters show, a delay that runs counter to the expectations of many Malians.

The timing allows space for talks aimed at fragmenting the Islamist militias and stabilizing a shaky Bamako government, but it risks giving Islamist hardliners an opportunity to dig in.

Nov 15, 2012

France wants to review EU ban on arming Syria rebels

PARIS, Nov 15 (Reuters) – France will discuss supplying arms
to Syrian opposition forces with its European partners in the
coming weeks now that an opposition coalition has been
established, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday.

France is wary of militarising the 20-month-old conflict,
but is also reluctant to leave areas under opposition control
unprotected against attacks by President Bashar al-Assad’s
forces, Fabius told RTL radio.

Nov 14, 2012

Qaeda links to militants in Libya envoy attack: U.S. general

PARIS (Reuters) – Militants who killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya in September probably had links to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the top U.S. general in Africa said on Wednesday, warning that a growing threat from the group must be urgently addressed.

General Carter Ham, head of the United States’ Africa Command, said that a military plan unveiled on Sunday by West African regional bloc ECOWAS to dislodge AQIM from northern Mali still needed detailed work, and any intervention would probably take “some months to prepare”.

Nov 14, 2012

US general: Qaeda links to militants in Libya envoy attack

PARIS, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Militants who killed the U.S.
ambassador to Libya in September probably had links to al Qaeda
in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the top U.S. general in Africa
said on Wednesday, warning that a growing threat from the group
must be urgently addressed.

General Carter Ham, head of the United States’ Africa
Command, said that a military plan unveiled on Sunday by West
African regional bloc ECOWAS to dislodge AQIM from northern Mali
still needed detailed work, and any intervention would probably
take “some months to prepare”.

Nov 13, 2012

France recognises new Syria opposition

CAIRO/PARIS, Nov 13 (Reuters) – France became the first
European power to recognise Syria’s new opposition coalition as
the sole representative of its people and said on Tuesday it
would look into arming rebels against President Bashar al-Assad
once they form a government.

Twenty months into their bloody uprising against Assad,
fragmented Syrian opposition groups struck a deal in Qatar on
Sunday to form a broad coalition and their leader immediately
appealed for European backing.

Nov 13, 2012

France recognises new Syrian opposition coalition

PARIS, Nov 13 (Reuters) – France broke ranks with its
European allies on Tuesday by officially recognising Syria’s new
opposition coalition and said it would consider arming the
rebels once they created a government in waiting.

Syrian opposition groups struck a deal in Doha on Sunday to
form a broad coalition to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad
after 20 months of an uprising against his rule.