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May 9, 2014

Uganda says warlord Kony could take advantage of South Sudan chaos

PARIS (Reuters) – Uganda said on Friday it was worried that warlord Joseph Kony could take advantage of conflicts in the region, and promised to pull back its troops in South Sudan once a U.N.-led mission was at full strength, to focus on pursuing Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

Uganda sent forces into South Sudan to back the government shortly after fighting broke out in December between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and to his sacked deputy Riek Machar. Months of peace talks have produced little result, although Kiir and Machar were reported to have agreed a ceasefire on Friday night, in their first face-to-face meeting since the conflict began.

May 8, 2014

No decision on French carrier deal to Russia before October – source

PARIS (Reuters) – France will not review its 1.2 billion-euro (£0.98 billion) contract to sell helicopter carriers to Russia earlier than planned because of the Ukraine crisis, despite U.S. concerns, a French government source said on Thursday.

Paris has come under pressure from Washington and some European partners to reconsider its supply of high-tech military hardware to Moscow, and has responded by saying it will review the deal in October – but not before.

May 8, 2014

No decision on French carrier deal to Russia before Oct-source

PARIS (Reuters) – France will not review its 1.2 billion-euro ($1.66 billion) contract to sell helicopter carriers to Russia earlier than planned because of the Ukraine crisis, despite U.S. concerns, a French government source said on Thursday.

Paris has come under pressure from Washington and some European partners to reconsider its supply of high-tech military hardware to Moscow, and has responded by saying it will review the deal in October – but not before.

May 8, 2014

French soldier dies in Mali as Paris readies counter-insurgency plan

PARIS (Reuters) – A French soldier has been killed in northern Mali as France prepares to deploy thousands of its troops across the region to better fight Islamist militancy, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday.

The soldier, the eighth to die in Mali since France intervened in its former colony in January 2013 to oust al-Qaeda linked militants controlling the north of the country, was killed after an explosive device went off under his vehicle, he told RMC radio.

May 7, 2014

France sends agents to Nigeria, boosts ties to fight Boko Haram

PARIS (Reuters) – France said on Wednesday it was boosting intelligence ties with Nigeria and sending security service agents there to tackle Boko Haram after more than 200 girls were kidnapped by the Islamist group.

President Francois Hollande’s office said after he spoke by telephone with Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan that Paris would dispatch a specialised team in the coming hours to Abuja to help find the girls.

May 7, 2014

France offers to send agents to Nigeria for kidnapped girls

PARIS (Reuters) – France on Wednesday joined the United States and Britain in offering to send security service agents to Nigeria to help rescue more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

With more than 4,000 troops operating between Mali to the west and Central African Republic to the east, Paris has a major interest in preventing Nigeria’s security situation from deteriorating, having previously voiced concerns that Boko Haram could spread further north into the Sahel.

Apr 29, 2014

Seeking deals, France rolls out red carpet for Angolan leader

PARIS (Reuters) – French officials welcomed Angola’s president on Tuesday for the first time in 20 years, hailing his economic reforms in the clearest sign yet that Paris is turning its diplomatic focus to winning overseas contracts.

Relations were strained in the past decade after the “Angolagate” trial over arms sales to Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos’s MPLA party during the civil war in the 1990s, which a Paris court said broke a United Nations arms embargo.

Apr 29, 2014

Tunisian PM says economic reforms will be paced to avoid unrest

PARIS (Reuters) – Tunisia will not need to access financial markets to manage its budget deficit this year, its prime minister said on Tuesday, while ruling out harsh public spending cuts that could stoke popular unrest.

Three years after an uprising that inspired the “Arab Spring” revolutions, Tunisia has a new constitution and aims to hold elections this year.

Apr 22, 2014

France to unveil plan to fight Syrian jihadist threat

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s interior minister on Tuesday unveiled a raft of policies to stop its citizens joining the Syrian civil war, aiming to prevent young French Muslims becoming radicalized and posing a threat to their home country.

France, which has been a staunch opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, estimates the number of its nationals directly or indirectly involved in the Syrian conflict at about 700 of which a third are fighting against the government.

Apr 11, 2014

Darfur rebel says peacekeepers turning blind eye to new violence

PARIS (Reuters) – A veteran rebel leader from Sudan’s Darfur region accused international peacekeepers on Friday of turning a blind eye to what he called a renewed campaign of ethnic cleansing by government-backed Arab militias.

International efforts have largely failed to end violence in the arid western territory, more than 10 years after Khartoum unleashed militias to try and crush a rebellion by mostly non-Arab insurgents.