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01:25, 27 June 2017 Tuesday
Update: 09:57, 19 July 2012 Thursday

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France to review NATO, US ties
France to review NATO, US ties
(File Photo)

Hollande also asked fellow Socialist Vedrine, who opposed France's return to NATO's inner circle, to review France's relationship with the United States over the next decade.

World Bulletin / News Desk

French President Francois Hollande has asked former foreign minister Hubert Vedrine to review France's membership of NATO's integrated military command, his office said on Wednesday, echoing unease about its place in the alliance's inner circle.

Hollande has in the past expressed reservations about France's 2009 return to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's integrated command, a move approved by his conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, who was one of the most pro-American presidents France has had in decades.

Hollande also asked fellow Socialist Vedrine, who opposed France's return to NATO's inner circle, to review France's relationship with the United States over the next decade. Vedrine is to report back by the end of October.

General Charles de Gaulle withdrew French forces from NATO's command in 1966 at the height of the Cold War and forced the alliance's headquarters to relocate from Paris and Fontainebleau the following year in protest at what he saw as U.S. hegemony in Europe.



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.