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Chirac Says France Regrets War in Iraq
French President Jacques Chirac said on Thursday that France "regretted" over the outbreak of war in Iraq and he hoped that the US-led war would not cause "humanitarian catastrophe."

France regretted such a military action "undertaken without theapproval of the United Nations," said Chirac in a televised address.

France hopes that the military operation launched by the UnitedStates on early Thursday morning will be finished "as rapid and asvictim-free as possible and does not lead to a humanitarian catastrophe," he said.

Chirac, whose country remains strongly opposed to the US-led campaign aimed at disarming Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by force, said no matter how long the conflict lasts, it bears "serious consequences for the future."

Therefore, he said: "We must join with our allies and the wholeinternational community to deal together with the challenges that await us."

Chirac also asked the government to convene a special meeting to discuss the economic and security fallout of the war.

Chirac was due to travel to Brussels later on Thursday to attend a European Union (EU) summit on the Iraqi crisis. Enditem

(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2003)

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