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France is opposed to imposing sanctions on a Palestinian government formed by Hamas, President Jacques Chirac said Monday.
Speaking to reporters on the final day of his visit to Saudi Arabia, Chirac said he was aware of the calls for cutting off aid to a Palestinian Authority led by Hamas, owing to the group's refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence.
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"I am hostile to sanctions in general, and in this case in particular, because I do not see why we would impose sanctions whose consequences would in reality be borne mainly by the Palestinian people," Chirac said.
The United States and the European Union have threatened to halt their annual aid to the Palestinian Authority once a Hamas-led government is formed. Since winning the Palestinian legislative elections by a landslide in January, the group has rebuffed intense international pressure for a change of policy on Israel and violence.
Chirac said Hamas has to come round to recognizing Israel and stopped terror attacks on Israel because "one cannot recognize a government that uses violence as a policy."
"I hope that the discussions begun with Hamas by a certain number of parties can lead to this positive result," Chirac added, apparently referring to the recent Russian talks with Hamas leader.
"Speaking truthfully, I don't doubt it because Hamas must now assume the responsibilities of democracy," Chirac added.
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