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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.

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.