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Cash-strapped France to sell $48 million New York apartment of its U.N. envoy

By Curtis Skinner NEW YORK (Reuters) - The French government, which earlier this week unveiled sweeping spending cuts, is selling the luxurious New York residence of its envoy to the United Nations, an 18-room duplex apartment featuring five fireplaces and a view of Park Avenue.

France pushes meeting on UN veto rights

France will organize a meeting to push for reforms to restrain the use of Security Council vetoes in cases involving mass crimes, the French ambassador to the United Nations said Monday. Gerard Araud said the ministerial-level meeting would be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in September among all foreign ministers who wish to take part. France's aim is "to create a public debate to pressure other permanent members" of the Security Council to accept a code of conduct on the use of their vetoes, Araud said.

US wants UN resolution on Ukraine before Sunday's vote

The United States has drafted a UN Security Council resolution denouncing an upcoming Moscow-backed referendum in Ukraine's Crimea on switching over to Kremlin rule, diplomats said Thursday. The United States circulated the document and wants to be in a position to vote by Saturday, the eve of the vote in Crimea, British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters heading into the UN Security Council.

UN calls for faster deployment of Mali force

The United Nations acknowledged Thursday that it is struggling to get peacekeeping troops into place in Mali as France seeks to draw down its force battling militant groups there. One year after France intervened to halt an Islamist march on Mali's capital, the UN mission in the impoverished West African nation has just 5,500 of the 11,200 troops it intended to build up. France still has more than 2,500 troops in Mali but wants to cut this to 1,000 by July.

UN mulls means to better protect journalists

France and Guatemala will compile a list of concrete proposals to protect journalists, especially in war zones, the French UN ambassador said Friday after a meeting on the matter. Gerard Araud said 76 members of the media have been killed on the job since the beginning of the year, particularly in Mali, Syria, Somalia and Pakistan, and that a number of others have been abducted. "We will look at what is feasible, effective and acceptable," said Araud.

UNSC president sees brief but busy month, with one resolution expected

UNSC president sees brief but busy month, with one resolution expected UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- France's UN Ambassador Gerard Araud, this month's president of the UN Security Council, said on Tuesday the 15-member panel would deal heavily with Syria, then the Central African Republic (CAR), protection of journalists and the troubled situation in Africa's Sahel region.

Central African Republic says France to boost troops

By John Irish and Michelle Nichols PARIS/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - France will triple the number of its soldiers in the Central African Republic to 1,200 to bolster security after months of violence, the war-torn nation's prime minister said on Monday. The mineral-rich but impoverished country of 4.6 million people has descended into chaos since Seleka rebels, many of them from neighboring Chad and Sudan, ousted President Francois Bozize in March.

Syria coalition meets UN Security Council

Leaders of the Syrian National Coalition on Friday held informal talks with the UN Security Council about their political and military objectives. A delegation led by new coalition president Ahmad Jarba met ambassadors from the 15-nation council, including envoys from Russia, the main backer of President Bashar al-Assad, and from the United States, Britain and France, which are considering arming the rebels. Western nations are pressing the opposition delegation to be more open to political talks on settling the war, which the UN says has left more than 100,000 dead.

Leaders of French charity in child kidnap affair freed

The founder of French charity Arche de Zoe (Zoe's Ark) and his partner, who tried in 2007 to abduct 103 children from Chad, have been released from jail, their lawyer said Friday. A court of appeal on Thursday morning decided to free Eric Breteau and Emilie Lelouch under police surveillance pending their appeal due on November 20, according to the lawyer. Breteau, 42, and Lelouch, 37, were sentenced on February 12 to a three-year jail term, one year of which was suspended, notably on conviction of fraud.

UN offices looted in Central Africa: spokesman

Looters raided UN offices and staff homes when rebels overran the capital of the Central African Republic, a spokesman said Monday. The gunfire and pillaging continued as the UN Security Council was set to discuss the crisis later in the day, said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky. "It seems from our assessment so far that there is still some gunfire and that there is still some looting in Bangui," Nesirky told reporters. "Several United Nations offices and residences of staff members, both national and international, have been looted," he added.
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