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Mar 20, 2015

European negotiator says framework accord with Iran unlikely soon

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Six world powers are unlikely to reach a framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear work in the coming days as the sides are still far apart on key issues, a senior European negotiator said on Thursday, blaming Tehran for failing to compromise.

“Contrary to what the Iranians are saying with regard to 90 percent of an accord being done, that’s not correct,” the negotiator told reporters on condition of anonymity. “We are not close to an agreement.”

Mar 19, 2015

European negotiator says framework accord at Iran nuclear talks unlikely soon

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Six world powers and Iran are unlikely to reach a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in the coming days as the sides are too far apart on many issues, a European negotiator said on Thursday.

He blamed Tehran for failing to compromise.

“Contrary to what the Iranians are saying with regard to 90 percent of an accord being done, that’s not true,” the negotiator told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Mar 18, 2015

U.S., Iran focus on technical details in nuclear talks

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – American and Iranian nuclear experts homed in on the technical details of a possible framework agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program in a fresh round of talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Wednesday.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, kicked off the negotiations. They were later joined by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, and European Union Political Director Helga Schmid.

Mar 9, 2015

Mali FM tells rebels ‘time running out’ for peace deal

PARIS (Reuters) – Mali’s foreign minister said on Monday Tuareg rebels were running out of time to seal a peace accord that would distance them from jihadi groups who are staging violent attacks in the West African country.

Mali’s government signed up to a preliminary peace proposal on March 1 meant to end fighting with the Tuarag-led northern separatists, but the rebels have demanded more time before agreeing to any accord.

Mar 7, 2015

Islamist militants kill 5 in restaurant attack in Mali capital

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – A Sahara-based Islamist group on Saturday claimed responsibility for a rare attack in Mali’s capital that killed five people, including two foreigners, highlighting continued volatility in the African nation two years after France helped retake territory from al Qaeda-linked militants.

The attack early Saturday morning on La Terrasse, a popular restaurant with expatriates in Bamako, left a French citizen, a Belgian security officer and three Malians dead and nine others wounded, a senior Malian security official told Reuters.

Mar 7, 2015

U.S., France ‘on same page’ over Iran, want stronger deal

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States and France sought on Saturday to play down any disagreements over nuclear talks with Iran, saying they both agreed the accord now under discussion needed to be strengthened.

“We are on the same page,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters after talks with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris. “If we didn’t think that there was further to go, as Laurent said, we’d have had an agreement already,” Kerry added.

Mar 5, 2015

Syria opposition turns to internal opponents

PARIS (Reuters) – The head of Syria’s Western-backed political opposition is trying to ally with opposition groups based in Syria to boost its legitimacy and help revive peace talks that center on a political transition in the country.

Khaled Khoja, who became president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces in January, told Reuters in an interview that the group’s goal was still for President Bashar al-Assad to leave power, but that it was no longer a precondition to begin talks.

Feb 24, 2015

Leading powers seek stepped-up monitoring in Ukraine

PARIS (Reuters) – The foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany agreed on Tuesday to seek a reinforcement of the international monitoring mission in Ukraine and renewed their calls for an oft-breached ceasefire agreement to be respected.

The meeting of about three hours in Paris was called in a bid to rescue an agreement the four powers brokered this month in Belarus capital Minsk, setting out terms for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of arms in the conflict in east Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian rebels.

Feb 18, 2015

Four years on, some in Europe support talking to Assad

BEIRUT/PARIS (Reuters) – Some European Union countries which withdrew their ambassadors from Syria are saying privately it is time for more communication with Damascus even though Britain and France oppose it, diplomats said.

Those states have become more vocal in internal meetings about the need to talk to the Syrian government and have a presence in the capital. London and Paris reject this, saying President Bashar al-Assad has lost all legitimacy.

Feb 15, 2015

Libya conflict, order gap spurred French Rafale sale to Egypt

PARIS, Feb 13 (Reuters) – The arms deal that eluded France
for 20 years, its first foreign order for the Rafale combat jet,
came with a Thursday evening phone call crowning weeks of
diplomacy carried out with unusual speed and stealth.

Egypt’s decision to buy 24 of the Dassault Aviation
fighters follows failures by successive French
governments to sell the plane and leapfrogs three years of
inconclusive talks for a 126-plane contract with India.