Thursday, October 07, 2004

Chirac to end arms ban on China

Jacques Chirac wants to end the EU arms embargo on China:

French President Jacques Chirac, in an interview released Thursday, repeated calls for a speedy end to a European Union ban on arms sales to China.

The 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing which sparked the embargo was "another time", he said in an interview with China's state news agency Xinhua.

Chirac's office released in Hanoi the French text of the interview.

"France supports the lifting of the embargo and you know there are strong reservations on the part of our American friends," said Chirac in the interview published before his visit to China starting Friday night.

The US and Taiwan strongly oppose the lifting of the embargo while the EU is divided. France and Germany want to scrap it while Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands fear a hostile public reaction to such a move.

"We will try to get the EU to lift as soon as possible an embargo which is of another time and which does not correspond any more to the reality of the situation," Chirac said in the interview.


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