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Archive for France

Newsline: Italy Summons French Ambassador in Row Over Migrant Ship

Italy’s foreign minister summoned the French ambassador to Rome in an escalating row over the Italian government’s decision to block access for a migrant rescue ship. Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi summoned the ambassador to a morning meeting “following the statements made yesterday in Paris on the Aquarius affair,” his ministry said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that Italy was “cynical and irresponsible” over the migrant vessel which had been left stranded in the Mediterranean after Italy and Malta refused to grant it permission to dock. International law says the country with the nearest coastline is responsible for welcoming ships in distress, Macron told a cabinet meeting, according to government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, of the anti-immigrant League, has spearheaded a hardline stand on curbing arrivals from across the Mediterranean as a priority for the new populist coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. The Aquarius, with some 600 people saved from the sea over the last few weeks, is sailing to Spain after the country agreed to welcome the ship.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-13/italy-summons-french-ambassador-in-row-over-migrant-ship

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Newsline: France to reopen Gambia Embassy

The foreign affairs minister, J-Baptiste Leymone also announced that France would reopen its embassy in Gambia’s capital, Banjul. The diplomatic office was closed in November 2013, with France explaining that Jammeh’s regime was not open to any productive collaboration, making the office redundant and costly to maintain.

http://www.africanews.com/2018/05/29/france-to-reopen-embassy-in-the-gambia-pledges-58m-development-financing/

Newsline: Britons in France grill ambassador over post-Brexit rights

It was supposed to be a simple mission to update British nationals in Paris about their rights after Brexit. The setting was the 18th-century embassy building, the backdrop to centuries of British diplomacy. Instead Edward Llewellyn, the British ambassador, was subjected to a two-hour roasting by angry British nationals. “I went there seeking reassurance and I came away terrified about my future,” Ian Fox, a senior executive at an internationally renowned consumer brand in Paris, told the Guardian after the meeting. Lord Llewellyn, who was formerly David Cameron’s chief of staff, started out with a prepared speech about the “considerable progress” Brexit negotiators had made, explaining how he understood their “anxieties and concerns”. But he ended up being heckled and laughed at when he told them Theresa May had prioritised their rights. “Feel the temperature in the room,” one man shouted.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/apr/11/britons-in-france-grill-ambassador-over-post-brexit-rights

Newsline: Italy summons French ambassador over cross-border urine test

The Italian foreign ministry summoned France’s ambassador, after uniformed French customs officers crossed the border to confront a man suspected of carrying drugs. France insisted the presence of its personnel at an alpine railway station just inside Italy was acceptable. However, the French ambassador, Christian Masset, was summoned over what Rome called “a serious act considered outside the scope of cooperation between states sharing a border”. The foreign ministry added that the neighbouring countries would address the issue further at a meeting in Turin on 16 April. The dispute began late on Friday when the French officials turned up at a train station in the Italian alpine village of Bardonecchia and told a man to provide a urine sample. The Rainbow4Africa NGO, which has for months occupied part of the train station to help migrants headed for France, filed a complaint about the treatement of the man, who is from Nigeria. Italian officials reacted with outrage, prompting an official explanatory statement from the French embassy. Gerald Darmanin, the French minister charged with overseeing customs, signed the statement which explained how French officials came to be present when the Paris-bound train arrived from Milan. “These uniformed agents identified as French customs officials suspected one passenger, a Nigerian national resident in Italy, of having drugs on his person. “In line with article 60 bis of the customs code the agents asked the person if he would consent to providing a urine sample to detect drugs which he agreed to do in writing,” the statement read. “In order to carry out the test in conditions respecting the person, the agents waited until the train arrived to use the facility at Bardonecchia station which was placed at the disposal of French customs,” the statement went on, saying the procedure respected guidelines laid down in 1990. The French officials duly carried out the test which came back negative. But the Italian foreign ministry said France had failed to keep them fully abreast of developments, and criticised the incident as “unacceptable”. Matteo Salvini, the head of Italy’s far-right League, commented that Rome, “instead of expelling Russian diplomats should remove French diplomats”, referring to the furore over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain, widely blamed on Moscow.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/01/italy-france-cross-border-urine-test-drugs

Newsline: French embassy workers arrested in Israel for smuggling weapons to Palestinians

Two French Embassy workers along with five Palestinians have been indicted on charges of smuggling dozens of weapons from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip to the West Bank. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) cleared for release on Monday that 24-year-old French citizen Romain Franck, who worked as a driver in the French Consulate in east Jerusalem, was part of a cell that smuggled 70 pistols and two assault rifles through the Erez crossing on the Israel-Gaza border on five different occasions. He is accused of using his diplomatic vehicle to avoid security checks at the Erez border crossing as well as using another vehicle with diplomatic plates – a Citroen that was for his personal use – to drive through the Kalandiya checkpoint to get from Jerusalem to Ramallah.

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/French-consulate-worker-arrested-for-smuggling-weapons-into-Gaza-545430

Newsline: Pro-Kurds clash with police outside US embassy in Paris

Pro-Kurdish demonstrators protesting against Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria have clashed with police outside the U.S. embassy in Paris. French police tried to keep the protesters back from the embassy building on Tuesday night and used tear gas to disperse the protest. Some protesters threw projectiles at police and several of them were injured in the scuffles that followed. The protesters were expressing anger at a perceived lack of action from the U.S. after Turkey announced that its troops and Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters had begun a siege of the Syrian Kurdish-held northern town of Afrin.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/03/14/pro-kurds-clash-with-police-outside-us-embassy-in-paris.html

Newsline: French embassy attacked in Burkina Faso’s capital

Four attackers at the French Embassy in Burkina Faso have been “neutralized,” the government of Burkina Faso said Friday. Both the French Embassy and the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the headquarters of Burkina Faso’s armed forces, have come under attack, a government statement said, and there are security forces on the scene. It urged people to keep calm and avoid areas where there might be gunfire.

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/02/africa/burkina-faso-ouagadougou-attack-intl/index.html