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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: Iranians protest outside French embassy

Dozens of Iranians gathered Sunday outside the French embassy in Tehran protesting against cartoons of the Islamic republic’s supreme leader by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Iran has warned France over the “insulting and indecent” cartoons, which appeared in a special edition to mark the anniversary of the deadly 2015 attack on the magazine’s Paris offices. Dozens of protesters, most of them religious seminary students, gathered in front of the embassy in the centre of the capital Tehran and set fire to French flags, AFP journalists reported. “France, be ashamed!”, the crowd chanted. Waving Iranian flags, they held pictures of Khamenei and signs reading “I will sacrifice my life for the leader”, and “Shame on Charlie Hebdo”. (https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20230108-iranians-protest-outside-french-embassy-after-charlie-hebdo-cartoons) Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani on Sunday said that freedom of speech should not be used as a pretext for “insulting” religion. The magazine on Wednesday published caricatures of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in support of the months-long protests in Iran, sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code.

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: Burkina Faso expels French ambassador

Burkina Faso has expelled France’s ambassador, authorities said Monday. Government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo confirmed to the Associated Press that Ambassador Luc Hallade was asked to leave, but provided no further details. The French embassy refused to comment. (https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Burkina-Faso-s-military-regime-expels-French-17690183.php) Hallade’s expulsion comes less than two weeks after the United Nations’ resident and humanitarian coordinator in Burkina Faso, Barbara Manzi, was also declared persona non grata.

Newsline: Israel’s ambassador to France resigns

A group of more than 100 Israeli diplomats have written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing concern about his new government’s proposed policies, while Israel’s ambassador to France resigned in a similar act of protest. The group letter expressed “profound concern at the serious damage to Israel’s foreign relations, its international standing and its core interests abroad” if Netanyahu’s plans proceed as expected. Signatories included Nimrod Barkan, who served as ambassador to Canada under the last Netanyahu-led government; Jeremy Issacharoff, Israel’s ambassador to Germany; Pini Avivi, former ambassador to Turkey; Colette Avital, a former Labor politician and veteran diplomat; and Avi Gil, former director general of ministry of foreign affairs. The group warned that “expected changes in Israeli policy in Judea-Samaria/the West Bank” along with “extreme and discriminatory laws” targeting minorities in Israel and other policies would not only harm the country’s democratic values but could also harm relations with the U.S., disrupt the Abraham Accords and even hurt investment in Israel. (https://forward.com/fast-forward/530215/israel-ambassador-france-yael-german-resigns-netanyahu-government/) Yael German, the ambassador to France, wrote in her letter: “The statements of the ministers in your government and the intentions of their legislation go against my conscience, my worldview, and the underlying promises of the declaration of independence of a Jewish and democratic state.” The letter, which she posted to Twitter on Thursday, was written in Hebrew and translated by the Forward.

Newsline: Turkey summons French ambassador

Turkey summoned France’s ambassador over what it called “black propaganda” by Kurdish activists during a march to mourn three people killed in a shooting at a Kurdish cultural centre in Paris. French Ambassador Herve Magro was summoned so Ankara could relay unease after some marched in Paris with flags of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or suggested that Turkey was linked to the shooting, the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Turkey “expects France to act prudently over the incident and not to allow the [banned PKK] terrorist organisation to advance its sneaky agenda,” Anadolu reported. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/26/turkey-summons-french-ambassador-over-anti-turk-propaganda) On Saturday, members of France’s Kurdish community and anti-racism activists joined together in Paris in a demonstration of mourning and anger a day after a Kurdish neighbourhood was targeted by a gunman who has admitted racist motivations. While the gathering was largely peaceful, with marchers holding portraits of the victims, some youths threw objects and set light to cars, and police shot tear gas to disperse the crowd.

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.