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Jun 21, 2015

Inaction on peace risks setting Israeli-Palestinian conflict “ablaze” – France

CAIRO (Reuters) – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday that the stalemate in the peace process risked setting the conflict “ablaze” and urged both sides to return to the negotiating table quickly.

U.S.-led efforts to broker a so-called two-state solution collapsed in April 2014 and leaders on both sides have since been weakened politically. But with the region’s crises worsening and Washington reassessing its options on relations with Israel, France sees a narrow window to resume negotiations.

Jun 20, 2015

Inaction on Mideast peace risks setting conflict ‘ablaze’: France

CAIRO (Reuters) – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday that the stalemate in the peace process risked setting the conflict “ablaze” and urged both sides to return to the negotiating table quickly.

U.S.-led efforts to broker peace for a two-state solution collapsed in April 2014 and leaders on both sides have since been weakened politically. But with the region’s crises worsening and Washington reassessing its options on U.S.-Israel relations, France sees a narrow window to resume negotiations.

Jun 19, 2015

France’s Fabius heads to Mideast to sell peace initiative

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister heads to the Middle East this weekend with an initiative aimed at bringing Israel and the Palestinians back to peace talks under an international framework amid growing regional instability.

U.S.-led efforts to broker peace for a two-state solution collapsed in April 2014 and leaders on both sides have since been weakened politically. But with the region’s crises worsening and Washington reassessing its options on U.S.-Israel relations, France sees a narrow window to resume negotiations.

Jun 16, 2015

Iran urges France not to miss out on $80 billion of transport deals

PARIS (Reuters) – Iran’s transport minister said on Tuesday there was about $80 billion worth of business up for grabs in his sector, including the renewal of the country’s air fleet, but warned France it risked missing out unless it changed its stance toward Tehran.

France is one of six world powers negotiating with Iran over its disputed nuclear program and has been one of the toughest in pressing for restrictions to prevent it from acquiring an atomic bomb, although it denies seeking one.

Jun 10, 2015

France nears 1 bln euro Kuwait deal to sell Airbus helicopters

PARIS, June 10 (Reuters) – France is on the verge of
finalising a contract worth about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion)
for the sale of 24 Airbus-built military helicopters to Kuwait,
a deal that highlights Paris’ growing commercial ties in the
Middle East, officials said.

The contract – the latest to be agreed between Paris and a
Gulf Arab state, comes after French President Francois Hollande
was invited by Gulf Arab leaders in May to address their summit
in Saudi Arabia, a rare privilege for a foreign head of state.

Jun 4, 2015

France’s Orange plans to end brand licensing deal in Israel

PARIS, June 4 (Reuters) – Israel protested to France on
Thursday after the head of partly state-owned French telecom
giant Orange said it intended to end a brand licensing
deal with an Israeli firm, drawing accusations it was bending to
a pro-Palestinian boycott movement.

Commenting on remarks in Cairo on Wednesday by Orange CEO
Stephane Richard, the French company said in Paris that
terminating the arrangement with Israel’s Partner Communications
was a business decision, not a political one.

Jun 3, 2015

Qatar says air strikes ineffective without Iraqi national dialogue

PARIS (Reuters) – Qatar said on Wednesday coalition air strikes in Iraq were hopeless without a real push for national reconciliation and that the door should be left open to those who leave al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing.

Speaking a day after a meeting of countries fighting Islamic State, Khaled al-Attiyah said the international community was not doing enough to pressure all parties in Iraq to start national reconciliation.

Jun 3, 2015

“No way” Qatar will lose 2022 World Cup – foreign minister

PARIS, June 3 (Reuters) – Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah said on Wednesday there was “no way” his country would be stripped of its right to host the 2022 World Cup, accusing Qatar’s critics of an anti-Arab campaign.

“It is very difficult for some to digest that an Arab Islamic country has this tournament, as if this right can’t be for an Arab state,” he told Reuters in an interview in Paris a day after FIFA President Sepp Blatter resigned.

Jun 3, 2015

Qatar says ‘prejudice and racism’ behind criticism of 2022 World Cup

PARIS/DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar said on Wednesday there was no way it would be stripped of the right to host the World Cup despite the corruption scandal surrounding FIFA, dismissing a “bashing campaign” of criticism of its 2022 bid as anti-Arab prejudice.

Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah said Qatar would one day show “who is behind this campaign against Qatar”, suggesting the country was being unfairly targeted over allegations of graft in the vote that won it the Cup, and of abuse of migrant workers.

Jun 3, 2015

Allies back Iraq plan against ISIS, Baghdad seeks more help

PARIS (Reuters) – Western and Arab states carrying out air strikes on Islamic State fighters backed on Tuesday Iraq’s plan to retake territory from the jihadist movement after being accused by the Iraqi premier of not doing enough to help Baghdad push back the insurgents.

Around 20 coalition ministers met Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Paris, in part to persuade his Shi’ite Muslim-led government to repair relations with Iraq’s Sunni minority to strengthen its campaign against the Sunni Islamic State, also known as ISIS.