France to urge US to remain in Afghanistan and Iraq

Le Drian said the Iraq situation was on the agenda for talks with Pompeo. (File/AFP)
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Updated 13 November 2020

France to urge US to remain in Afghanistan and Iraq

  • Trump said in October that he wanted all US troops home from Afghanistan “by Christmas”
  • Pompeo will see President Emmanuel Macron on Monday in a meeting

PARIS: The French government will tell Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is preparing for a visit to Paris, that the US should not pull its troops out of Afghanistan or Iraq, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday.
Asked in a televised interview to react to outgoing President Donald Trump’s reported plans to hasten a US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Le Drian said “We don’t think that should happen. We will also say that it shouldn’t happen in Iraq, either.”
According to political and diplomatic sources, Pompeo issued an ultimatum in September that all US personnel would leave Iraq unless the government puts a stop to a rash of attacks against them.
Le Drian said the Iraq situation was on the agenda for talks with Pompeo, as was Iran, terrorism, the Middle East and relations with China.
Trump said in October that he wanted all US troops home from Afghanistan “by Christmas,” December 25.
That promise was followed by clarification attempts by high-ranking officials, including national security adviser Robert O’Brien who said that troop numbers in Afghanistan would be cut to around 2,500 in early 2021.
Pompeo will see President Emmanuel Macron on Monday in a meeting that will be conducted “in complete transparency toward the team of president-elect Joe Biden,” Macron’s office said.
Pompeo’s visit to France will be the start of an international tour that will see him travel to Turkey, Georgia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia from November 13-23.


Police fire tear gas at Paris protest against police violence

Updated 28 November 2020

Police fire tear gas at Paris protest against police violence

  • The majority of the thousands of protesters marched peacefully, but several small groups clashed with police
  • The protests follow the publication this week of CCTV footage of the minutes-long beating of Black music producer Michel Zecler by three police officers in Paris

PARIS: Police fired tear gas and stun grenades during a protest march against police violence in Paris on Saturday after masked protesters launched fireworks at their lines, put up barricades and threw stones.
The majority of the thousands of protesters marched peacefully, but several small groups clashed with police. Two cars, a motorcycle and building materials were set on fire, which generated clouds of black smoke visible from miles away.
Thousands of people also marched in Lille, Rennes, Strasbourg and other cities.
The protests follow the publication this week of CCTV footage of the minutes-long beating of Black music producer Michel Zecler by three police officers in Paris on Nov. 21.
The incident has also fanned anger about a draft law that is seen as curbing the right of journalists to report on police brutality.
The bill would make it a crime to circulate images of police officers in certain circumstances, which opponents say would limit press freedom.
Many protesters carried placards with slogans like “Who will protect us from the police,” “Stop police violence” and “Democracy bludgeoned.”
The images of Zecler being beaten have circulated widely on social media and in the French and foreign press. President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday the images were shameful for France.
Four police officers are being held for questioning as part of an investigation into the beating.
“What is happening in Paris is extremely worrying and we cannot let this pass. I have spent two years with the yellow vests and I have seen all the violence,” demonstrator Caroline Schatz told Reuters at the Paris march.
The journalists’ organizations and civil liberty groups who organized the marches were joined by far-left militants, environmental activists and yellow vest protesters. The yellow vests have been protesting against government policies for two years.