France's defense minister arrived in Afghanistan Sunday, the day after an attack that killed four French soldiers and an announcement that France would begin withdrawing troops in July.
Shortly after touching down, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attended a ceremony to honor the dead soldiers, whose coffins -- draped in flags -- were at Kabul's heavily fortified military airport.Full Story
France votes Sunday in round one of elections tipped to give Socialist President Francois Hollande the parliamentary majority he needs to steer the country through financial crisis, rising joblessness and a stagnant economy.
Hollande defeated right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy in last month's presidential election and is now calling for voters to turn out en masse to give him the mandate he needs to implement his tax-and-spend program.Full Story
French President Francois Hollande said Saturday that France would begin its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan next month and complete it by the end of the year.
Speaking after the death of four French soldiers in a Taliban attack, he said France would pay a "national homage" to the men. He added that the wounded will be repatriated rapidly.Full Story
President Michel Suleiman received on Friday a phone call from his French counterpart Francois Hollande, during which they discussed the importance of national dialogue “in maintaining Lebanese domestic stability.”
The two leaders tackled Suleiman’s call for resuming all-party talks on June 11.Full Story
France backs U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's bid to bring key powers into a contact group on the Syria crisis, but it opposes bringing Iran into the group, the foreign ministry said Friday.
"We are favorable to any initiative that can help put into operation the Annan plan," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters.Full Story
Qatar's prime minister urged the international community Thursday to speed up its search for a solution bringing a "peaceful transfer of power" in Syria, as he met French President Francois Hollande.
"We must speed up our search for a solution to maintain the country's stability and equally there must be a plan for a peaceful transfer of power," Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told reporters after the talks in Paris.Full Story
France on Thursday condemned Israeli plans to expand a West Bank settlement by 300 homes and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to follow through with their construction.
"We call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abstain from implementing these plans. We recall that colonization in all its forms is illegal under international law, undermines the two-state solution at ground level and is an obstacle to peace," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.Full Story
France urged Syria on Thursday to “respect the Lebanese sovereignty,” after the clashes that erupted between Syrian soldiers and the residents of the Arsal Lebanese border town, French Foreign Ministry said.
French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero said: “France condemns Syria’s recent violation of the Lebanese territory in the strongest terms.”Full Story
France on Wednesday denounced President Bashar al-Assad's appointment of a new prime minister as a "masquerade" that does not meet the demands of the Syrian people or the international community.
"Bashar al-Assad remains stubbornly deaf to the demands of his people" and the move "does not meet the expectations of the Syrian people or the international community," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.Full Story
Syria's government declared on Tuesday that the ambassadors and staff of several Western countries as well as Turkey were personae non gratae.
"Some states recently informed heads of our diplomatic missions and embassy staff that they are unwelcome," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding Syria was now designating the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France and Turkey, among others, as personae non gratae.Full Story