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Arms Embargo on China Makes No More Sense: Chirac

The arms embargo on China makes no more sense today, French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday at a joint news conference with his visiting Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao.

He said France hopes the restriction would be scrapped "in the coming months."

European Commission President Romano Prodi also called on the European Union (EU) to study the possibility of lifting the embargo.

It's high time to reconsider the situation and eventually lift the embargo, Prodi told French radio Europe 1, adding that European rules mean that it will take time to start the discussion.

When asked whether he is in favor of lifting the embargo, Prodi answered, "Yes, if the rules are respected, because China has made movements."

"When you look at the countries subject to similar EU sanctions, you will surely feel that China should not be on the list," Herve Ladsous, spokesman of the French Foreign Ministry told Xinhua.

The EU imposed the arms embargo on China in 1989. Europe maintains weapons embargoes against Myanmar, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin had urged his EU counterparts meeting in Brussels Monday to lift the embargo that "dates back more than 15 years and no longer corresponds with the political reality of the contemporary world."

The embargo should be lifted during the next EU meeting at the end of March, said de Villepin.

(Xinhua News Agency January 28, 2004)

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