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Archive for France

Newsline: Algerian ambassador to return to France to end diplomatic spat

Algeria’s ambassador to France will return to Paris in the coming days, French President Emmanuel Macron’s Elysee office said, in a move signalling a recovery in relations a month after a diplomatic spat. (https://neuters.de/world/algerian-ambassador-return-france-coming-days-elysee-2023-03-24/) The Elysee palace said that during a telephone conversation, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune had told Macron that the ambassador would return. In February, Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris, accusing France of orchestrating the escape of an activist it wants for arrest and triggering a new crisis between the countries after months of warming relations.

Newsline: France’s President seeks to calm diplomats amid foreign service reform

President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday promised to raise budgets and hire more officials as he sought to assuage France’s diplomatic corps over a civil service reform. Pushed by young foreign ministry civil servants, hundreds of diplomatic staff at home and abroad, including some ambassadors, took part in the first strike for 20 years last June in protest over the reform and years of staff cuts. “I want a complete rearmament of our diplomacy to serve peace,” Macron said in a rare speech to diplomats at the Quai d’Orsay, home of France’s foreign service in Paris. Promising to increase budgets by 20% over the next four years and to hire some 700 hundred new officials, he said the reform would be a transformation. “We must end years of reductions and give ourselves the means to commit new capacities, develop new skills and, at a time when war has come back to Europe, be able to give ourselves the means to serve our interests, defend our priorities, influence and have the capacities to make our country shine.” (https://neuters.de/world/macron-seeks-calm-diplomats-amid-overhaul-foreign-service-2023-03-16/) The core grievance centred around the merging of career diplomats into the broader civil service, increasing competition for posts, but which diplomats say would dilute the service that they say needs expertise — including in languages and on-the-ground experience — garnered from years work overseas. In response, the ministry on Wednesday sent Macron a 300 page report outlining an overhaul of the diplomatic service to give it new skills. Ministry officials have said the reforms, passed by decree last May and put into force in January, will preserve the diplomatic profession and careers. Speaking on condition of anonymity several diplomats said they felt betrayed and they believed it would leave France without a high-performing diplomatic service. France has the world’s third-largest diplomatic network behind the United States and China, with some 1,800 diplomats and about 13,500 officials working at the foreign ministry.

Newsline: France seeks stronger ties with Algeria despite ambassador recall

France will continue efforts to strengthen ties with Algeria despite Algiers accusing Paris on Wednesday of orchestrating the escape of an activist it wants to arrest, a French foreign ministry spokesman said. Speaking to reporters, French deputy foreign ministry spokesman Francois Delmas declined to comment on the specific allegations but said that Bouraoui, a Franco-Algerian national, benefited from consular protection like all French nationals. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/france-says-it-wants-stronger-ties-with-algeria-despite-envoy-recall-2023-02-09/) Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris on Wednesday after Amira Bouraoui, a rights activist detained during the 2019 mass protests in Algeria and freed from prison in 2020, had allegedly crossed into Tunisia illegally after evading Algerian judicial surveillance, according to Algerian and French media. Algiers’ reaction could trigger a new crisis between the countries after months of increasingly warm relations. French President Emmanuel Macron visited Algeria last year, warmly embracing President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on a trip that seemed to turn a page on years of difficult ties.

Newsline: France recalls ambassador from Burkina Faso

The French foreign ministry said on Thursday it was recalling its ambassador to Burkina Faso, citing “the context of recent developments”. “We have decided to recall our ambassador in Paris, to conduct consultations on the state and perspectives of our bilateral cooperation”, the ministry said in a statement. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/france-recall-burkina-ambassador-over-tensions-foreign-ministry-says-2023-01-26/) Protests by opponents of the French military presence have surged in Burkina, partly linked to perceptions that France has not done enough to tackle an Islamist insurgency that has spread in recent years from neighbouring Mali.

Newsline: France summons Iran’s envoy over execution of British-Iranian

The French Foreign Ministry summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Paris on Saturday over the execution of a British-Iranian national accused of spying, the ministry said in a statement, expressing its indignation about the case. Iran’s judiciary said earlier in the day that Alireza Akbari, a British-Iranian national who once served as Tehran’s deputy defence minister, had been executed, defying calls from London for his release. “He was also warned that Iran’s repeated violations of international law cannot go unanswered, particularly with regard to the treatment of foreign nationals whom it arbitrarily detains,” the French Foreign Ministry said. (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/french-foreign-minister-summons-irans-top-diplomat-over-execution-of-britishiranian-accused-of-spying-2881746) Like other Western powers, France has sought to increase pressure on Tehran in recent months and President Emmanuel Macron has criticised the crackdown by authorities on protesters and expressed support for women fighting for more rights.

Newsline: France supports its Burkina Faso ambassador despite withdrawal request

France continues to back its envoy in Burkina Faso despite a request by the Burkinabe government to replace him amid growing anti-French sentiment, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Thursday. “I would like to express my support and our support for our ambassador and for all the embassy staff, who are doing a remarkable job in conditions which, as you know, are difficult,” Colonna told LCI TV, adding that the letter had requested a change in envoy. (https://neuters.de/world/french-foreign-minister-we-support-our-ambassador-burkina-faso-2023-01-05/) Relations between France and Burkina, a former French colony in West Africa, have deteriorated after repeated military coups. In December, the Ouagadougou government sent a letter requesting the departure of France’s ambassador – a move the French government described as “not standard practice.”

Newsline: Paris calls Burkina Faso’s request to withdraw French ambassador “not standard practice”

The French foreign ministry on Tuesday said it had received a letter from the Burkinabe authorities in December requesting the departure of Frances’s ambassador from Burkina Faso – a move the ministry called “not standard practice.” In emailed comments, the French ministry’s spokeswoman confirmed it had received such a letter, but declined to give further details or say how it had responded. “We have indeed received a letter from the Burkinabe transitional authorities. This is not standard practice and we have no public comment to make in response,” she said. (https://neuters.de/world/paris-says-burkina-faso-requested-withdrawal-french-ambassador-2023-01-03/) The whereabouts and status of French Ambassador Luc Hallade could not immediately be confirmed. The embassy in Ouagadougou declined to comment. The Burkinabe government has declined to comment officially on reports it sent this request to Paris last month.

Newsline: French Embassy prepared travel documents for convicted serial killer freed in Nepal

Convicted killer Charles Sobhraj, suspected in the deaths of at least 20 tourists around Asia in the 1970s, arrived in Paris as a free man Saturday after being released from a life sentence in a Nepal prison. He was freed Friday and ordered to leave Nepal within 15 days. A friend helped finance a ticket to France, and the French Embassy prepared travel documents allowing him to leave. (https://news.yahoo.com/killer-dubbed-serpent-arrives-france-072258371.html) Sobhraj, a 78-year-old French citizen, had been serving time for the deaths of American and Canadian backpackers in Nepal in 1975, but was released Friday for health and other reasons. His French lawyer welcomed his release. “I’m very happy but very shocked that it took 19 years to obtain his normal freedom,” Coutant-Peyre said at the airport. She said his murder conviction in Nepal was a “fabricated case” and said the French government didn’t do enough to help or defend him. The French government did not respond to requests for comment on whether he could face judicial challenges in France. Sobhraj was born in Vietnam during French rule and claims French citizenship. He is believed to have killed at least 20 people in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong between 1972 and 1982.

Newsline: France says Iran envoy was summoned

France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday Iran’s charge d’affaires had been summoned. (https://neuters.de/world/official-france-says-iran-diplomat-was-summoned-over-countrys-attitude-2022-12-13/) France’s top diplomat explained the move by Iran’s role in Ukraine, crackdowns on protesters at home and the treatment of seven French nationals, currently in custody.

Newsline: France’s top diplomat says more citizens held in Iran

Two more French citizens are likely being held in Iran, taking the total of its nationals detained there to seven, France’s foreign minister said in remarks published on Saturday. France lashed out at Iran on Oct. 6 accusing it of “dictatorial practices” and taking its citizens hostage after a video was aired in which a French couple appeared to confess to spying, after weeks of unrest that Iran has linked to foreign foes. “We have concerns over two other citizens. We are trying to check the contradictory information,” Catherine Colonna told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview. (https://wsau.com/2022/11/12/two-more-french-citizens-likely-held-in-iran-foreign-minister/) On Friday, Le Figaro newspaper reported that the two nationals had been arrested prior to the start of anti-government protests in September over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. The foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.