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Jun 6, 2014

Russia, Ukraine leaders shake hands, talk at D-Day event

By John Irish and Jeff Mason

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France(Reuters) – The leaders of Russia and Ukraine met on Friday for the first time since Moscow annexed Crimea as world leaders commemorated the 70th anniversary of the World War Two D-Day landings in France.

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel brought together Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko for a 15-minute meeting before an official lunch for visiting world dignitaries.

Jun 6, 2014

World leaders pay tribute to D-Day fallen, seek Ukraine thaw

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France, June 6 (Reuters) – World leaders
and veterans paid tribute on the 70th anniversary of the World
War Two D-Day landings to soldiers who fell in the liberation of
Europe from Nazi German rule, as host France sought to use the
event to achieve a thaw in the Ukraine crisis.

Wreaths, parades and parachute-drops honoured history’s
largest amphibious assault on June 6, 1944, when 160,000 U.S.,
British and Canadian troops waded ashore to confront German
forces, hastening its defeat and the advent of peace in Europe.

Jun 5, 2014

World leaders gather for D-Day tribute, hope for thaw on Ukraine

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER FRANCE (Reuters) – World leaders and veterans gather by the beaches of Normandy on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings that helped turn the tables in World War Two, with host France hoping the event will bring a thaw in the Ukraine crisis.

Wreaths, parades, parachute-landings and fireworks will be staged in honor of history’s largest amphibian assault on June 6, 1944 when 160,000 U.S., British and Canadian troops waded ashore to confront Nazi Germany’s forces, hastening its defeat.

Jun 5, 2014

Hollande bids to use D-Day encounters for Ukraine thaw

PARIS (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande urged world leaders arriving in France on Thursday to mark the 70th anniversary of World War Two’s D-Day landings to use the occasion to ease tensions over the Ukraine crisis.

Hollande, criticised at home for a lack of initiative on Ukraine, was due to have a working dinner with U.S. President Barack Obama before dashing across Paris to join Russia’s Vladimir Putin for a second evening meal later on Thursday.

Jun 5, 2014

Two-dinner Hollande hosts Obama and Putin seeking Ukraine thaw

PARIS (Reuters) – Criticized at home for a lack of initiative on Ukraine, French President Francois Hollande will hold separate dinners on Thursday with the U.S. and Russian leaders in an attempt to unlock Europe’s worst security crisis since the Cold War.

His aim is to orchestrate an ice-breaking first meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko on French soil, diplomats said, despite continued fighting in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Jun 5, 2014

French leader dines twice with Obama, Putin seeking Ukraine thaw

PARIS (Reuters) – Criticized at home for a lack of initiative on Ukraine, French President Francois Hollande will hold separate dinners on Thursday with the U.S. and Russian leaders in an attempt to unlock Europe’s worst security crisis since the Cold War.

His aim is to orchestrate an ice-breaking first meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko on French soil, diplomats said, despite continued fighting in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Jun 4, 2014

World leaders to gather for D-Day, Ukraine crisis casts shadow

PARIS (Reuters) – World leaders gather in Normandy on Friday for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, but with Europe in its worst security crisis since the Cold War, commemorations will be the backdrop to urgent diplomacy over Ukraine.

Some 18 heads of state will attend ceremonies bringing together 3,000 veterans along France’s northern coast where Allied forces landed on June 6, 1944 in a sea-borne invasion that sped up the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two.

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.