Chief correspondent, West and Central Africa
Mark's Feed
Dec 31, 2013

French priest kidnapped in Cameroon set free

PARIS/YAOUNDE (Reuters) – A French Catholic priest kidnapped in northern Cameroon last month was released on Monday and said he had spent the weeks pacing his tent prison, torn by a mixture of boredom and anger.

France said it had not paid any ransom for his release.

The November 13 kidnapping of Georges Vandenbeusch, 42, was one of a series of attacks on French targets in Africa since France launched a military intervention in Mali in January to oust al Qaeda Islamists who had forged links with Boko Haram militants.

Nov 25, 2013

Insight: Weak at home, France seeks grandeur abroad

PARIS (Reuters) – The hero of France’s top movie comedy of the moment is a French foreign minister who complains about American isolationism and says the Germans must be humored – but above all kept off the U.N. Security Council.

One reason for the box-office success of “Quai d’Orsay” – named after the 19th century palace by the River Seine where France conducts its world affairs – is how closely it flirts with real-life policy.

Nov 25, 2013

Weak at home, France seeks grandeur abroad

PARIS, Nov 25 (Reuters) – The hero of France’s top movie
comedy of the moment is a French foreign minister who complains
about American isolationism and says the Germans must be
humoured – but above all kept off the U.N. Security Council.

One reason for the box-office success of “Quai d’Orsay” -
named after the 19th century palace by the River Seine where
France conducts its world affairs – is how closely it flirts
with real-life policy.

Sep 29, 2013

Ruling French coalition split over Roma ejection call

PARIS, Sept 29 (Reuters) – President Francois Hollande is
battling to heal a rift in his ruling coalition over treatment
of France’s Roma population after his interior minister said
most of them should leave France.

Manuel Valls enraged left-wingers in Hollande’s government
this week by arguing that the vast majority of 20,000 Roma
living in makeshift camps outside French cities could never be
integrated into society and so should be “taken back to the
border” for transfer back to Romania and Bulgaria.

Sep 10, 2013

Syria prompts Europe to question U.S. leadership will

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States’ uncertainty over how to respond to a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria has left close European allies wondering whether Washington remains ready to play the world leadership role it has long assumed.

Yet while the hesitations are creating political headaches for governments in Britain and France that advocated strikes, less interventionist capitals including Berlin are relieved to be dealing with a less hawkish U.S. administration than those which pushed the case for war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sep 10, 2013

France to propose U.N. resolution on Syria chemical weapons

PARIS/BEIRUT (Reuters) – France is to put forward a U.N. Security Council draft resolution for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, quickly turning a Russian idea into a full-blown diplomatic proposal that could avert Western military strikes.

The French draft would threaten “extremely serious” consequences if Syria violates the conditions for giving up its chemical weapons, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.

Aug 5, 2013

How France’s Hollande plans to win his bet on jobs

PARIS (Reuters) – Defying all predictions by the IMF, the European Commission and the bulk of private economists, President Francois Hollande is still banking on a turnaround in French unemployment by the end of the year.

Not only that, he has upped the stakes by making it the top political priority of his Socialist government. “I will be judged on it,” he told the nation in a Bastille Day television interview last month.

Aug 5, 2013

Analysis: How France’s Hollande plans to win his bet on jobs

PARIS (Reuters) – Defying all predictions by the IMF, the European Commission and the bulk of private economists, President Francois Hollande is still banking on a turnaround in French unemployment by the end of the year.

Not only that, he has upped the stakes by making it the top political priority of his Socialist government. “I will be judged on it,” he told the nation in a Bastille Day television interview last month.

Jul 30, 2013

Air coolant row empties Mercedes showrooms in France

PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) – July is never the best month for
car sales but Oussama Kaddoura, a Daimler Mercedes
agent for the past 30 years, has rarely seen one as bad as this.

France’s move to outlaw sales of several Mercedes models for
using an air-conditioner coolant banned by the European Union
not only stops him delivering cars already on order, but is also
scaring new clients away from his showroom in east Paris.

Jul 15, 2013

Analysis: France looks for a mellower Merkel post-election

PARIS (Reuters) – With quiet satisfaction, France’s Socialist government has watched Angela Merkel strike an ever softer stance on Europe in recent months as she prepares for Germany’s election.

What’s more, Paris believes the poll might just nudge the conservative chancellor yet further from the hardline fiscal austerity policies she has embodied for much of the euro zone’s debt crisis.

    • About Mark

      "Based in Dakar, I look after the Reuters file in West and Central Africa, except for Nigeria. Previously I covered politics and economics in Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt and London."
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