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Chirac Opposes Sanctions Against Hamas Government

French President Jacques Chirac says he is opposed to any international sanctions against a Palestinian government formed by the militant group Hamas.

Speaking to reporters Monday on the final day of a visit to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Chirac said he was aware of calls for cutting off aid to a Hamas-led government because of the group's refusal to renounce violence against Israel. But he said imposing sanctions would mostly hurt the Palestinian people.

Hamas won a landslide election victory in January, prompting Israel, the United States and the European Union - which includes France - to threaten to stop funding unless the Islamic militant group recognize Israel and stop its militants from attacking the Jewish state.

France often presents itself as supporting Arab causes, while many Arabs regard the United States as biased toward Israel.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.