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Soviet Government Denies Reports It Negotiated Sale of Arms to Arabs

The Soviet Union has denied reports that it has sold or negotiated for the sale of arms to the Arab states, an Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman revealed here today. In addition, the USSR has denied that any of the Peoples Democracies–Communist states–were involved in such transactions or negotiations with the Arabs.

These statements were made by Zaitzov, director of the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s Middle East Department, to Israel Ambassador Joseph Avidar who approached him on September 12 to inquire about statements made by Syrian and Egyptian spokesmen that the USSR had indicated its preparedness to arm the Arab states and had begun negotiations for this purpose. Zaitzov said that he was authorized to state that Arab press reports and statements about this matter were “devoid of foundation” and were “nothing but fantasies.” The Soviet Union had neither sold any arms to the Arab states nor had it carried on negotiations with them for any such sale.

Zaitzov added that from the Soviet point of view there was nothing objectionable in the sale or purchase of arms, as long as they were not intended for offensive purposes or were not connected with the organization of aggressive blocs. The Soviets, he continued regard the purchase of arms intended for the defense of the purchasing state or its internal security as an ordinary commercial transaction.

Ambassador Avidar pointed out that in view of the Arab rulers’ refusal to make peace with Israel and in view of their campaign of threats against Israel, their acquisition such arms could not be regarded as a mere commercial transaction, the Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman concluded.

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