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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.

May 14, 2014

Chinese police to patrol Paris streets as France eyes tourism boost

PARIS (Reuters) – Chinese police officers will join their French counterparts in patrolling some of Paris’ main tourism spots this summer as France looks to encourage more visitors from the Asian nation to boost its revenues.

France welcomes some 1.4 million Chinese tourists each year and sees doubling that number as a way to slash its trade deficit by about 2 billion euros. Each Chinese visitor spends an average 1,500 euros per visit and local and Chinese media have carried reports that they have been targeted by muggers.

May 13, 2014

French journalist killed in Central African Republic

PARIS/BANGUI, May 13 (Reuters) – A French journalist has
been killed in Central African Republic, the office of President
Francois Hollande said on Tuesday, the first death of a Western
reporter in the country since France sent troops there in
December.

French soldiers found the body of freelance photojournalist
Camille Lepage, 26, in a vehicle they had stopped that was being
driven by “anti-balaka” militia fighters, Hollande’s office said
in a statement.

May 12, 2014

Despite pressure, France won’t cancel warship deal with Russia

PARIS/BAKU, May 12 (Reuters) – France will press ahead with
a 1.2 billion-euro ($1.66 billion) contract to sell Mistral
helicopter carriers to Russia because cancelling the deal would
do more damage to Paris than to Moscow, French diplomatic
sources said on Monday.

France’s move illustrates the limitations of European Union
sanctions meant to punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea
and dissuade Moscow from intervening in east Ukraine.