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Apr 2, 2014

French foreign minister takes on trade, overseas growth, in expanded role

PARIS, April 2 (Reuters) – French Foreign Minister Laurent
Fabius, who has stood out in an otherwise unpopular government
for his firm handling of international crises, is to take on
responsibility for improving the country’s weak trade
performance, diplomatic sources said.

In a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, Fabius has been handed
the task of reducing the trade deficit and developing external
business as part of an expanded portfolio to boost growth
opportunities overseas, the sources told Reuters.

Mar 18, 2014

Russian deputy PM doubts France’s reliability as arms supplier

MOSCOW/PARIS, March 18 (Reuters) – Russian Deputy Prime
Minister Dmitry Rogozin criticised France on Tuesday for saying
it may cancel a 1.2 billion euro ($1.67 billion)
helicopter-carrier contract with Moscow over the Ukraine crisis,
and France seemed to back down on the issue.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius raised the
possibility on Monday of scrapping the deal depending on further
sanctions against Moscow over its seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea
region, but later said he was only considering delaying it.

Mar 16, 2014

Heart maker Carmat to wait before next transplant-founder

PARIS, March 16 (Reuters) – French artificial heart maker
Carmat will not carry out any more human transplants
until it has determined the cause of the death of the first
patient fitted with its device, one of the company’s co-founders
said on Sunday.

Carmat’s first patient, a 76-year-old man, died on March 2
in Paris, two and a half months after his operation.

Mar 15, 2014

France to review military cooperation with Russia in future sanctions

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday Paris would review its military cooperation with Russia as part of a third level of sanctions if Moscow did not de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

On Monday the United States and European Union are expected to unveil a list of Russian officials subject to asset freezes and visa bans as Western nations attempt to step up pressure on Moscow over its intervention in the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

Mar 15, 2014

France says it won’t forget Syria crisis, promises more pressure

PARIS (Reuters) – France will not “close its eyes” to the Syrian conflict despite other crises taking center stage, French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday, promising to increase efforts to reach a political solution.

More than 140,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have fled abroad as refugees in an increasingly sectarian civil war. The conflict began with mass street protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011 but turned into an armed insurgency after he cracked down violently on demonstrators.

Mar 6, 2014

Big power talks on Ukraine crisis make little progress

PARIS/KIEV (Reuters) – High-level diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Ukraine made little apparent headway at talks in Paris on Wednesday with Moscow and Washington at odds and Russia’s foreign minister refusing to recognize his Ukrainian counterpart.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said discussions would continue in the coming days in an attempt to stabilize the crisis and he expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov again in Rome on Thursday.

Mar 5, 2014

Russia rebuffs West on Crimea amid Paris talks

PARIS/KIEV, March 5 (Reuters) – Russia rebuffed Western
demands to withdraw forces in Ukraine’s Crimea region to their
bases on Wednesday amid a day of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris
aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of
war.

The European Union offered Ukraine’s new pro-Western
government 11 billion euros in financial aid in the next couple
of years provided Kiev reaches a deal with the International
Monetary Fund. Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, also promised
bilateral financial help.

Mar 5, 2014

Russia rebuffs West on Crimea ahead of Paris talks

PARIS/KIEV, March 5 (Reuters) – Russia said on Wednesday it
could not order “self-defence” forces in Ukraine’s Crimea region
back to their bases ahead of crucial ministerial talks in Paris
aimed at easing tensions of over Ukraine and averting the risk
of war.

The European Union meanwhile offered Ukraine’s new
pro-Western government 11 billion euros in financial aid in the
next couple of years provided Kiev reaches a deal with the
International Monetary Fund.

Mar 5, 2014

Russia says can’t control Crimea troops ahead of U.S. talks

PARIS/KIEV, March 5 (Reuters) – Russia said on Wednesday it
could not order “self-defence” forces in Crimea back to their
bases ahead of the first face-to-face talks with the United
States on easing tensions over Ukraine and averting the risk of
war.

Russia and the West are facing the most serious
confrontation since the end of the Cold War over influence in
Ukraine, a major commodities exporter and strategic link between
East and West.

Mar 5, 2014

U.S. and Russia set for talks on Ukraine tension

PARIS/KIEV (Reuters) – The United States and Russia will hold talks on easing East-West tension over Ukraine on Wednesday as the West steps up efforts to persuade Moscow to pull its forces back to base in Crimea and avert the risk of a war.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet face-to-face for the first time since the crisis escalated, after a conference in Paris attended by all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.