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Jun 3, 2014

France takes U.S. to task over BNP Paribas fine

PARIS/NEW YORK (Reuters) – France stepped up its protests to the United States on Tuesday over a possible $10 billion-plus sanctions busting fine for its biggest bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), saying such a move could hurt transatlantic free-trade talks.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ warning came two days before French President Francois Hollande hosts President Barack Obama for talks fraught with other sources of possible tension – from General Electric Co’s (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) overtures to emblematic French engineering group Alstom (ALSO.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) to differences over Syria and sanctions on Russia.

Jun 3, 2014

Poland says France should pull back from Russian navy deal

PARIS (Reuters) – Poland’s foreign minister urged France on Tuesday to cancel a 1.2 billion euro ($1.66 billion) contract to sell Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia, saying these would be used to threaten east European nations.

The United States and some European partners have been urging Paris to reconsider its supply of high-tech military hardware to Moscow following Russian action in Ukraine, including its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March.

Jun 3, 2014

France says mooted BNP Paribas’ $10 billion U.S. fine ‘unreasonable’

PARIS (Reuters) – France said it would defend the interests of its biggest bank BNP Paribas, calling a possible $10 billion-plus U.S. fine “unreasonable” and warning it could have a bearing on transatlantic free trade talks.

French government ministers have until now shied away from discussing in public BNP’ negotiations with U.S. authorities, who are investigating whether the lender evaded U.S. sanctions relating primarily to Sudan, Iran and Syria between 2002 and 2009.

Jun 3, 2014

France says mooted BNP Paribas’ $10 bln U.S. fine “unreasonable”

PARIS, June 3 (Reuters) – France said it would defend the
interests of its biggest bank BNP Paribas, calling a
possible $10 billion-plus U.S. fine “unreasonable” and warning
it could have a bearing on transatlantic free trade talks.

French government ministers have until now shied away from
discussing in public BNP’ negotiations with U.S. authorities,
who are investigating whether the lender evaded U.S. sanctions
relating primarily to Sudan, Iran and Syria between 2002 and
2009.

May 27, 2014

France: Talks between Iran, U.N. atomic watchdog not advancing enough

PARIS (Reuters) – Iran is cooperating “too slowly” with a U.N. watchdog investigation into suspected nuclear weapons research, France said on Tuesday, warning that world powers will not seal any long-term deal with Tehran until there were tangible results.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday that Iran had cut its most sensitive nuclear stockpile by around 80 percent under an interim pact agreed in November with world powers and had begun engaging with the IAEA inquiry after years of stonewalling.

May 21, 2014

Mali wants international inquiry into northern attack

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – Mali’s government on Tuesday called for an international commission to investigate a weekend attack by Tuareg separatist rebels that has revived fears of a return to war in the West African nation’s troubled north.

The rebels killed eight Malian soldiers in clashes in the northern town of Kidal on Saturday and also killed eight civilians, including six government officials, when they attacked the regional governor’s office there. The violence took place during a visit by Prime Minister Moussa Mara.

May 20, 2014

France delays Sahel counter-insurgency plan after Mali violence

PARIS (Reuters) – France has delayed plans to redeploy 3,000 soldiers to fight militants across Africa’s Sahel region, saying it first needs to help deal with a fresh outbreak of violence in northern Mali.

Paris had hoped to move the troops from its former colony Mali and other bases to target Islamist groups operating between southern Libya, northern Chad and northern Niger. It fears the fighters could use the region as a base for wider attacks.

May 17, 2014

West Africa leaders vow to wage ‘total war’ on Boko Haram

PARIS (Reuters) – West African leaders on Saturday agreed to work together to wage “total war” on Boko Haram saying the Nigerian Islamist group had become a regional al Qaeda that threatened all of them.

Nigeria’s neighbors Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin, and Western officials, met in Paris to flesh out a plan enabling them for the first time to share intelligence, coordinate action and monitor borders.

May 17, 2014

Britain offers Nigeria military advisers as Boko Haram plan emerges

PARIS (Reuters) – Britain is offering to send advisers to help Nigeria’s military structure its efforts to fight Boko Haram, Foreign Minister William Hague said on Saturday, ahead of a meeting to hammer out a strategy to tackle the Islamist group.

West African leaders are meeting in Paris to try to improve cooperation in their fight against the group which last month kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls and threatens to destabilize the wider region.

May 16, 2014

Paris summit to try to rally region against Nigeria’s Boko Haram

PARIS/ABUJA (Reuters) – West African leaders meet in Paris on Saturday to try to improve cooperation in their fight against the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls and threatens to destabilize the wider region.

Outrage over the kidnapping has already prompted Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, criticized at home for his government’s slow response, to accept U.S., British and French intelligence help in the hunt for the girls.