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Iran MPs accuse Fabius of backing Israel in talks

Two senior Iranian MPs accused French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Saturday of defending Israel, which objects to world powers reaching a deal with Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme.

Iran MPs accuse Fabius of backing Israel in talks
Photo: Jean-Christophe Bott/AFP

Fabius, in Geneva for what is now a third day of intensive negotiations, said earlier in the day there was "no certainty" a deal could be reached and that Israel's "concerns" need to be taken into consideration.

Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, spokesman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, said "the behaviour of the French representative in the nuclear talks shows that France is trying to blackmail" Iran.

"While the French people want better ties between Tehran and Paris, unfortunately the French government prefers the will of Zionist regime," said Naqavi Hosseini.

Esmaeel Kosari, a fellow conservative and member of the committee, expressed regret that  Fabius's comments "express the positions of the Zionist (Israeli) regime, which prompts us to eye the talks with pessimism."

And state news agency IRNA accused Fabius of "hindering" a deal between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany.

Fabius told France Inter radio that "there is an initial draft that we do not accept… As we speak, I have no certainty that we can finish up."

"There are some points on which we are not satisfied," he said, citing the "extremely prolific" Arak nuclear reactor and the question of uranium enrichment.

Fabius also expressed concerns over Iran's stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Friday that the United States was offering Iran the "deal of the century," saying the proposed agreement was "very bad."

Israel also vowed not to be bound by any international agreement and reserved the right to do whatever is necessary to defend itself — a clear allusion to a pre-emptive military strike.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Saturday there were divisions among the world powers attempting to negotiate a landmark deal with Tehran over its nuclear programme.

"We have reached an agreement on some questions, but on others there are still disagreements…. There are differences of opinion within the P5+1 group," he was quoted as saying by Iranian news agency ISNA.

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GENEVA

Is Switzerland ‘pilfering’ health workers from France during pandemic?

Officials in the Haute-Savoie area of France have accused private Swiss health clinics of poaching essential healthcare workers.

Is Switzerland 'pilfering' health workers from France during pandemic?
Health care workers from France prefer to work on the Swiss side of the border. Photo by AFP

The headline in Switzerland's Le Temps newspaper reads: “Geneva is pilfering our nurses”.

It comes from an interview with a French MP who laments how France is losing health workers to its neighbour at the height of a health crisis.

“The behaviour of some hospital administrators in Switzerland is totally unacceptable in the context of the health crisis”, Haute-Savoie’s deputy Martial Saddier said in an interview with Le Temps newspaper. 

He was referring to a practice of Swiss clinics recruiting health workers in France which French officials like Saddier says has caused a shortage of personnel in French hospitals in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saddier denounced several private clinics in Geneva for actively recruiting nursing staff from Haute-Savoie, luring them with salaries that are about two and a half times higher than those paid in the French region.

Though the phenomenon of medical workers from Haute-Savoie ‘migrating’ to Geneva is not new — 60 percent of nursing staff at Geneva’s university hospitals (HUG) live in France — Saddier said these recruitments should not happen during the pandemic. 

“While the number of infected people may be high in Geneva, Haute-Savoie is not spared either, with rates among the highest in France. We need all our vital forces”, he said.

Olivier Teissèdre, director of Hôpital privé Pays de Savoie (HPPS) pointed out that already during the first wave of Covid-19, “350 of our caregivers were recruited in Geneva, which put us in great difficulty. Today I lost 4 percent of my staff and had to shut down a night shift”.

“Now the shortage of caregivers is crucially felt because the care of Covid-19 patients is particularly heavy”, he added.

READ MORE: IN PICTURES: Swiss flags hang over protesting French ski village 

At the start of the second wave, the HPSS set up a partnership with another Haute-Savoie medical facility, the Alpes-Léman public hospital.

“But we no longer have enough employees to maintain this partnership because there is too much movement of staff toward Switzerland”, Teissèdre said.

At the start of the pandemic, an agreement was reached with the Geneva authorities to stop recruiting medical personnel from France, but this commitment only concerns public hospitals. No such pact was made with private clinics.

Laurent Paoliello, spokesperson for Geneva’s Health Department said that while HUG, which is a public hospital, has respected the hiring freeze, the canton can’t impose similar restrictions on recruitment policies of private establishments.

“However, we consider it inappropriate to loot the region next door, especially during a pandemic”, he said.

Although the Haute-Savoie officials say that private hospitals have placed ads in a local newspaper, Le Dauphiné libéré, seeking French health care workers, Geneva’s clinics deny advertising in France.

“We only recruit through our site, or on Jobup.ch, as well as on social networks”, said Magali Dauwalder, spokesperson for the Hirslanden group of private hospitals, which manages La Colline et les Grangettes clinics in Geneva.


READ MORE: Switzerland rejects further coronavirus lockdown despite 'worrying' situation 

 

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