Syria And Mali: With Kerry In Paris, Eyes On UN, US And French Next Moves



PARIS – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met his French counterpart on Wednesday for talks about aid to the Syrian opposition and the situation in Mali, where the United Nations has just recommended a force of UN 11,200 peacekeeping troops.

Kerry held breakfast talks in Paris with France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on international efforts “to bring an end to the Assad regime’s brutal campaign against the Syrian people” and “to restore democracy in Mali,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

Discussions in Paris were held just hours after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended in a report to the Security Council that the AFISMA African force currently in Mali should be converted into a U.N. peacekeeping operation consisting of 11,200 troops and 1,440 police, France 24 reports.

The 15-member Security Council is due to discuss Ban Ki-moon’s recommendations on Wednesday, which could lead to a vote to approve the peacekeeping force as early as mid-April.

"There would be a fundamental requirement for a parallel force to operate in Mali," Ban also advised in the report, which French weekly news magazine L’Express understands as a way of inviting French troops to extend their stay in Mali to battle radical Islamists and Tuareg separatists who threaten stability in the region.

Kerry and Fabius also conferred on the situation in Syria, a day after Syrian rebels asked Kerry for NATO missile batteries in Turkey to be used to protect civilians in northern Syria from rocket attacks by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Reuters reports that Kofi Annan, the former UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, said he thought it was too late for military intervention, and that arming Assad"s foes would not end the two-year-old crisis.

"I don't see a military intervention in Syria. We left it too late. I'm not sure it would not do more harm," Annan told the Graduate Institute in Geneva on Tuesday night.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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