Saturday, September 11, 2010

EU Remains Torn On Lifting China Arms Embargo

Europe remains divided on whether to lift an arms embargo clamped on China in 1989 following events in Tiananmen Square, EU foreign ministers said Sept. 11.

"We discussed delivering arms to China but did not advance at all towards a solution or joint position", French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said at the close of two days of informal talks with his 26 EU counterparts.

"France has long been favorable" to ending the embargo, he said. "But we need a joint stand."

His Luxembourg counterpart, Jean Asselborn, said he was "disappointed" at the division. "We're not yet ready to do this, which I sincerely regret."

"We could've offered an exchange: we raise the embargo and you ratify the convention on civil and political rights," he added.

A document examined by the ministers that was obtained by AFP raised the idea of lifting the embargo against conditions, such as improved ties with Taiwan, an amnesty for arrests linked to events at Tiananmen, and a calendar for the ratification of the rights treaty.

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