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Archive for France

Newsline: France, UK will not move embassies to Jerusalem

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that his country had no plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem. “France does not intend to move its embassy to a city other than Tel Aviv for now,” Le Drian told RTL Radio during an interview. He said the Palestinians needed hope while the Israeli side should take responsibility. “France will support any peace process in the region,” the French minister said. According to French Foreign Ministry, Le Drian will be in Washington Dec. 18 to meet his U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson, addressing issues like Trump’s Jerusalem move, Syria, and North Korea. UK also will not move its embassy to Jerusalem, UK ambassador to Egypt announced.



Newsline: Germany probes cash fund at Paris embassy

Germany’s foreign ministry said on Sunday it was probing past unusual billing practices at its Paris embassy after reports of an undeclared cash fund to pay staff for special events. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has ordered a “special inspection” into the allegations, which first emerged amid a dispute with two former employees, the ministry said in a statement sent to AFP. In the case first reported by Le Monde daily, a former butler and head waiter had accused the embassy of using fake invoicing practices to channel money into a fund used to give staff undeclared cash for overtime work. The men claimed they were fired for criticising the system, which had been used during events organised at the ambassador’s residence on behalf of private companies such as BMW and Mercedes. Le Monde estimated that staff had received “hundreds of thousands of euros” in cash payments since 2007. Germany’s foreign ministry, after initially saying only that it was looking into the claims, now admitted to past irregularities, in reply to a question from a Green Party lawmaker. The billing practices “did not meet the usual standards”, senior foreign ministry official Walter Lindner wrote in a statement first reported by the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger daily.


Newsline: Chinese embassy in Paris warns of security risks

The Chinese embassy in Paris on Saturday urged Chinese tourists to raise vigilance and take precautions following the mugging and attack on Chinese nationals. France has been faced with grim public security recently, and Paris region has reported a series of muggings and attacks against Chinese tourists and Chinese French, the embassy said in a statement posted on its website. A group of 40 Chinese tourists was attacked and robbed on Thursday by four men near a hotel in Val-de Marne, Paris suburbs, local media reported. The robbers sprayed the tourists with tear gas while they returned from their tour in the French capital. The assailants stole nine bags believed to be stuffed with luxury goods, according to local media reports. The group of Chinese tourists has returned to China on Friday.


Newsline: German embassy in Paris accused of undeclared staff payments and wrongful dismissal

Two former employees of the German embassy in Paris have accused it of using fake invoicing practices to channel money into a fund used to give staff undeclared cash salary top-ups. The allegations were made by a former butler and a former head waiter, who have taken a case against the German state for wrongful dismissal and undeclared work. The men claimed they were fired for criticizing the system of cash payments for overtime work. Their lawyer Antoine Gillot told AFP the system was put in place in 2007 “by means of an embassy note, with the green light of the German foreign ministry”. Le Monde daily reported Tuesday that the top-ups were partly funded by a “general expenses” levy on events organized at the ambassador’s residence on behalf of private companies such as BMW, Mercedes and ZDF television network. Citing internal embassy documents the newspaper estimated that staff had received “hundreds of thousands of euros” in cash payments since 2007. Gillot said the matter came to a head in 2015, during a dispute between the butler and other staff members over how the money should be distributed.


Newsline: Embassy official says Paris motorbike explosion did not appear to target Jordan

A motorbike explosion outside the Jordanian military attache’s office in western Paris did not appear to intentionally target Jordan, an embassy official said on Wednesday. A police source said a motorbike had exploded in front of the building, but the reasons for the explosion remained unclear. “A motorbike exploded in front of the building where the military attache’s office is. The police are investigating,” an embassy official said. “It doesn’t seem to be an intentional act that targets Jordan.”


Newsline: Joint embassy in Bangladesh a ‘political project’ for Germany, France

The Franco-German embassy in Bangladesh is more than a building because of the political meaning it conveys, says German Ambassador Thomas Prinz. “For us it’s a political project,” the envoy said, while inaugurating the building in Baridhara together with his French counterpart Sophie Aubert on Sunday. The joint embassy building symbolises that “arch enemies can be good friends,” Prinz said. The Franco-German embassy in Dhaka brings under one roof two countries that were once bitter enemies, a first among such embassies around the world. The five-storey building was constructed using bricks of two colours – grey symbolised the French rooms while red adorned the German side. But the European Union countries will share a common entrance, visa section and meeting room, among other shared spaces. On Sep 21 of 2015, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier attended a launching ceremony of the under-construction building in Dhaka. The project was initiated in 2012. French Ambassador Aubert on Sunday said they wanted to inaugurate the joint embassy before the French National Day is celebrated on Jul 14. The two countries work together in Kuwait, but operate from a rented building. They have been planning joint embassies in Beirut, Cairo and Khartoum.


Newsline: Russian Embassy Hands Note to Paris Over Attack on Military Agency Delegate

The Russian Embassy in Paris handed a note to the French Foreign Ministry over an assault and robbery of Russia’s Rosoboronexport arms exporter chief delegate at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday. “The Russian embassy sent a note to the French Foreign Ministry over the incident with a request to thoroughly investigate this case,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters at a weekly briefing. Sergey Kornev, Rosoboronexport’s chief delegate, was en route from the air show late on Tuesday when his vehicle came under attack in Saint-Denis, north of Paris. Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said Wednesday that Kornev was slightly injured but did not require hospitalization.