Chirac pushes for end to EU arms ban on China

7th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

HANOI, Oct 7 (AFP) - 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.

HANOI, Oct 7 (AFP) - 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.  

He made a similar call during a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to Paris last January.  

The French president Thursday began a two-day state visit to Vietnam before joining an Asia-Europe summit in Hanoi.  

He has said he feels a "spirit of partnership between China and France" and hopes to raise the relationship to new levels.  

Chirac said Paris and Beijing had established "an exemplary global strategic partnership" with both committed to multilateralism in world bodies such as the United Nations Security Council.  

The council was the appropriate forum to debate disagreements such as that with the United States over Iraq, said Chirac, the main opponent of the war.  

He reiterated that "the role of allies and friends is not to acquiesce in everything. Quite the reverse, it is necessary to talk and even issue a warning if a dangerous strategy is envisaged. This is what I did to our American friends during the Iraq crisis."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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