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Nov 5, 2014

Iran nuclear deal harder after Nov. 24 – Kerry

PARIS (Reuters) – Reaching a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers will be more difficult if negotiations drag beyond a November 24 deadline, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

Kerry, speaking ahead of his planned weekend talks with Iran’s foreign minister, said the United States and its allies were not – for now – weighing an extension of the negotiations.

Nov 5, 2014

French Socialists eye parliamentary vote on Palestinian recognition

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s ruling Socialist party wants parliament to recognize a Palestinian state, parliamentary sources said, following similar moves by Sweden and Britain that are meant to overcome an impasse in peacemaking but which have angered Israel.

Palestinians seek statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as their capital – lands captured by Israel in a 1967 war, although Israeli soldiers and settlers withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Nov 4, 2014

France, Lebanon sign Saudi-funded arms deal worth $3 bln

PARIS, Nov 4 (Reuters) – France and Lebanon signed on
Tuesday a Saudi-funded deal worth $3 billion to provide French
weapons and military equipment to the Lebanese army to help it
fight jihadis encroaching from neighbouring Syria.

The Lebanese army, one of the few institutions not overtaken
by the sectarian divisions that plague the tiny country, has few
resources to deal with the instability on its border and has
been seeking to modernise its military hardware.

Oct 17, 2014

Somali leader says his advisers not helping Islamist militants

PARIS, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Somalia’s president said on Friday
that nobody close to him had been involved in the unauthorised
diversion of government weapons to Islamist militants and denied
that a man U.N investigators linked to the arms trade had
advised him.

He was responding to a report from the United Nations’
Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group that Somali army weapons and
ammunition were being diverted to open markets despite the
government’s pledges to prevent its arms ending up in the hands
of al Shabaab fighters.

Oct 10, 2014

French forces launch raid in Niger against al Qaeda units

PARIS (Reuters) – French forces destroyed a convoy in Niger transporting weapons from Libya to Mali and captured fighters linked to al Qaeda, the presidency said on Friday as France steps up efforts to stop militants crisscrossing the Sahel-Sahara region.

Paris, which has led efforts to push back Islamist fighters in the region since intervening in its former colony Mali last year, started redeploying troops across West Africa in July to form a counter-terrorism force, leaving U.N. peacekeepers to deploy across Mali’s north to secure the country.

Oct 8, 2014

Iran moved nuclear research body to dodge U.N. inspections: dissidents

PARIS (Reuters) – An exiled Iranian opposition group said on Wednesday that a facility in Tehran that the United States suspects is involved in nuclear weapons research has been moved to avoid detection by the United Nations atomic watchdog.

The dissident National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) exposed Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002. But analysts say it has a mixed track record and a clear political agenda. Iran says allegations of nuclear bomb research are baseless and forged by its enemies.

Oct 7, 2014

Lebanese army to get first Saudi-financed weapons soon: former PM

PARIS (Reuters) – Lebanon’s army will soon receive military equipment as part of a $1 billion grant from Saudi Arabia to help it fight Islamist militants encroaching into Lebanon from Syria, former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Tuesday.

Hariri, who has close links to the Saudi royal family, originally announced the deal after visiting King Abdullah in August, just days after Islamist militants attacked and briefly seized the Lebanese border town of Arsal.

Oct 7, 2014

Chad to double oil output by 2016, develop minerals -minister

PARIS, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Chad expects to double oil
production by the end of 2015 as new fields come on stream and
has appointed firms to inventory potential mineral deposits in
an effort to diversify the economy, its finance minister said.

The former French colony, one of the poorest nations in the
world, has been rocked by humanitarian crises over the past
decade including conflicts in the east and south, drought in the
arid Sahel region and flooding.

Oct 6, 2014

Mali PM: France, U.N. must step up fight against Islamists in Mali

PARIS (Reuters) – Mali’s prime minister said on Monday Islamist militants had been given an opportunity to return to the north of the country after France redeployed troops across the region and urged French and U.N. forces to go on the attack to stop their resurgence.

Nine U.N. peacekeepers from Niger were killed on Friday when gunmen on motorbikes ambushed their convoy on Friday, the deadliest attack yet on them in the west African nation.

Oct 2, 2014

French troops edge closer to Libya border to cut off Islamists

PARIS (Reuters) – France is setting up a base in northern Niger as part of an operation aimed at stopping al Qaeda-linked militants from crossing the Sahel-Sahara region between southern Libya to Mauritania, officials said.

Paris, which has led efforts to push back Islamists in the region since intervening in its former colony Mali last year, redeployed troops across West Africa earlier this year to form a counter-terrorism force.