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Iran Warns France Over Louvre Artifacts

Tehran has warned it will cut cultural ties with France if renowned Paris museum The Louvre fails to set up an exhibition of Persian artifacts in Iran as agreed, an official was Monday cited as saying.

"If this museum (The Louvre) fails to fulfill its commitment with the (Iranian) Cultural Heritage Organization in the next two months, then we will cut cultural ties with France," head of the organization Hamid Baghai was quoted as saying by Tehran Emrouz newspaper.

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Britain, France, Germany Urge Mubarak to Avoid Violence

British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Egypt's Hosni Mubarak to avoid violence "at all costs" in a joint statement Saturday.

The three leaders called on Egypt's embattled president to commit to change in response to what they said were the "legitimate grievances" of his people.

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Feltman: We Are Keen on Seeing Lebanese Commitment to International Resolutions

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman stressed that U.N. Security Council members have expressed their keenness on seeing a Lebanese commitment to international resolutions following the formation of a new government led by Caretaker PM Najib Miqati.

Feltman told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Friday that his talks with French officials in Paris touched on the developments in Lebanon. Security Council members have expressed to him their keenness on Lebanon’s commitment to resolutions 1701 and 1757, he said.

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Feltman to Paris Wednesday for Talks on Lebanon, Tunisia

The top-ranking U.S. envoy for the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman, said he would travel to France on Wednesday for talks on the situation in Lebanon and Tunisia, following a visit to Tunis.

"I'm going to meet with the French tomorrow to talk about Tunisia and Lebanon," he told reporters in Tunis.

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Quadripartite Meeting in Paris Postponed Over Conflicting Agendas of Officials

A meeting that was scheduled to be held on Sunday between France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar over the political crisis in Lebanon was postponed over conflicting agendas, French foreign ministry sources told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

In remarks published Monday, the sources said the Paris meeting is considered “postponed and not cancelled.”

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French-Saudi-Turkish-Qatari Consultations in Paris to Reach Solution to Lebanese Crisis

A meeting between the French, Saudi Arabia, Turkish, and Qatari foreign ministers is expected to be held in Paris on Sunday in order to reach a solution to the Lebanese political crisis, reported the daily An Nahar Sunday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to also join these talks, in a sign of France’s determination to continue efforts that would ensure Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty.

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Sarkozy Adamant to Guarantee Lebanon’s Stability as Arab Officials Rush to Paris

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is reportedly adamant to continue contacts with friendly Arab countries to guarantee Lebanon’s stability following the collapse of the government and signs that the March 8 forces would have the upper hand in forming the new cabinet.

Pan-Arab daily al-Hayat quoted French sources as saying that “Sarkozy is determined to continue efforts along with Arab countries friendly to Paris (to guarantee) the stability of Lebanon.”

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Pietton Meets Hariri, Lauds His Latest Speech

French Ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton on Friday saluted "the unwavering commitment … that was expressed by the caretaker prime minister in the solemn and dignified speech that he delivered" Thursday.

"I visited caretaker Prime Minister (Saad Hariri) to discuss the serious political crisis that Lebanon is going through today," Pietton said after talks with Hariri at the Center House in downtown Beirut.

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Bin Laden Links Fate of French Hostages to Afghan Pullout, Paris Remains Adamant

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden said the release of two French hostages in Afghanistan depends on a pullout of their country's soldiers and warned Paris of a "high price" for its policies, in a tape broadcast on Friday.

"We repeat the same message to you: The release of your prisoners in the hands of our brothers is linked to the withdrawal of your soldiers from our country," said the speaker on the audiotape broadcast on Al-Jazeera television.

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Paris Keen on Solving Lebanon Crisis but Reportedly Facing Syrian Obstruction

Efforts are underway by France to launch an initiative to solve the Lebanese crisis following the government's collapse but Syria has reportedly rejected a French mediation.

"Paris is keen on solving the Lebanese crisis through dialogue with the different Lebanese sides and with this country's neighbors," French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in remarks published Friday.

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