Dec.24 - French food group Danone and Chinese beverage giant Wahaha Group would end confrontation and prepare for peace negotiation, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Danone said on Sunday. 

The agreement was reached Friday night after a long negotiation presided by China's Ministry of Commerce, said Ding Ying, a spokeswoman of Ogilvy Public Relations Agency, Danone's PR agent. 

"The announcement has been recognized by both parties. It represents their common views and wishes," Ding told Xinhua in an telephone interview. 

The announcement said they agreed to "call off all lawsuits and arbitrations provisionally and stop all aggressive speeches against the other party, in order to create a friendly atmosphere for peace negotiation." 

Ding said both parties expressed positive attitude towards a successful negotiation. 

However, no announcement was released by Wahaha Group. A spokesman said they had no new details so far. 

Danone, which owns a 51-percent stake in the 39 Danone-Wahaha joint ventures, has accused Wahaha of setting up independent companies and selling products identical to those sold by the joint ventures. Danone had demanded a 51-percent stake in the non-joint venture companies, which Wahaha rejected. 

Since mid-year, the two companies have filed numerous complaints and lawsuits against each other under various Chinese and foreign jurisdictions. 

Danone filed its first lawsuit against Wahaha on May 9 in Stockholm, and on June 4, Danone filed another lawsuit, in Los Angeles, against two Wahaha-related companies and two individuals. 

Also in June, Wahaha filed a request with the arbitration commission in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou over a disputed trademark transfer. 

It also lodged suits in Shenyang and Jilin against Danone executives Emmanuel Faber, who replaced Zong Qinghou as chief of Danone and Wahaha's 39 joint ventures, Qin Peng, China director for Danone Asia and Francois Caquelin, a financial director, claiming they had breached company law or damaged the interests of the Danone-Wahaha joint venture. 

ln July, Danone filed a counterclaim against Wahaha, alleging that Wahaha had failed to transfer trademarks to their joint venture under an agreement reached in 1996 when their cooperation started. 

Danone and Wahaha negotiated for another round before French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited China late last month. The talks, however, were fruitless.