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Nov 6, 2013

Iran’s Zarif charms Paris with smiles, optimism and a rug

PARIS (Reuters) – Iran’s Foreign Minister ended a two-day visit to France on Wednesday, a country he said was the most intransigent among the six world powers – including the United States – that he will face at nuclear talks this week.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the international face of the government that replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hardline administration in August, said he wanted a “new role” in the world for Iran, a nation increasingly isolated over its nuclear program.

Nov 5, 2013

Iran negotiator says outline nuclear deal possible this week

PARIS (Reuters) – Iran’s top negotiator said on Tuesday that a framework deal with world powers on its nuclear program was “possible this week”, although it would not be a disaster if there were a further delay.

Iran resumes negotiations in Geneva on Thursday with six world powers known as the “P5+1″ – the United States, Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany. The talks are aimed at ending a standoff over the nuclear program, which Western powers suspect may be aimed at developing nuclear weapons, despite Iran’s denials.

Nov 5, 2013

France won’t delay Mali troop drawdown despite killings

PARIS/BAMAKO (Reuters) – France will stick to its timetable for withdrawing troops from Mali despite a resurgence in violence and the killing of two French journalists, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.

France, which sent soldiers to its former colony in January to combat militants who had taken over large swathes of Mali, has already delayed by two months plans to reduce troop numbers from 3,200 to 1,000 by the end of the year.

Nov 5, 2013

Tunisia president says hopeful despite suspension of govt talks

PARIS (Reuters) – Tunisia’s president said on Tuesday he was optimistic his country would stay on the path to democracy despite a suspension of talks between ruling Islamists and opposition parties on forming a new caretaker government.

Monday’s suspension of talks after the two sides failed to agree on a prime minister has dealt a blow to hopes of a quick end to political deadlock in Tunisia, whose 2011 uprising inspired the “Arab Spring” revolts across the region.

Nov 5, 2013

Tunisia president says hopeful despite suspension of government talks

PARIS (Reuters) – Tunisia’s president said on Tuesday he was optimistic his country would stay on the path to democracy despite a suspension of talks between ruling Islamists and opposition parties on forming a new caretaker government.

Monday’s suspension of talks after the two sides failed to agree on a prime minister has dealt a blow to hopes of a quick end to political deadlock in Tunisia, whose 2011 uprising inspired the “Arab Spring” revolts across the region.

Nov 3, 2013

France says its journalists ‘coldly assassinated’ in Mali

PARIS/BAMAKO (Reuters) – France said on Sunday two French journalists found dead in the northern Mali region of Kidal had been “coldly assassinated” by militants and vowed to step up security measures in the area.

Radio journalists Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont were abducted after interviewing a member of the MNLA Tuareg separatist group in northern Mali.

Nov 3, 2013

French public want Hollande to change policies: poll

PARIS (Reuters) – The vast majority of French people want President Francois Hollande to change his polices or reshuffle his government, an opinion poll suggested on Sunday, a day after thousands protested against tax hikes and rising unemployment.

Hollande, the most unpopular French president on record according to a previous poll, has been hit by public anger over his economic methods, rows over immigration policy and repeated gaffes within the government.

Nov 2, 2013

Two French journalists abducted, killed in northern Mali

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – Two French radio journalists were killed by gunmen in northern Mali on Saturday shortly after being abducted in the town of Kidal, French and Malian officials said.

The French government confirmed that 58-year old Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont, 51, both journalists at RFI radio, had been found dead.

Oct 29, 2013

Hollande says four French hostages kidnapped in Niger freed

NIAMEY/PARIS (Reuters) – Four French hostages kidnapped by al Qaeda’s north African arm three years ago in Niger have been released, President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday.

Pierre Legrand, Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dol and Marc Feret were kidnapped by AQIM in September 2010 while working for French nuclear group Areva and a subsidiary of construction group Vinci in Arlit in Niger.

Oct 28, 2013

U.S. says renewed Congo fighting risks engulfing region

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States said on Monday renewed fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo between the army and M23 rebels risked dragging neighboring countries into the conflict and it urged all sides to return to the negotiating table.

Following two months of relative calm in the region, fighting flared last Friday after peace talks in neighboring Uganda broke down when M23 rebels demanded an amnesty for their leaders. President Joseph Kabila has ruled out a blanket pardon.