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Finnish Government Refuses to Approve Sales of Arms to Israel

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Israel tried and failed to purchase arms from Finland, the Times of London reported here today from Helsinki. The correspondent asserted that Israelis recently sought to purchase mortars and other weapons from Finnish manufacturers but the government refused to approve such sales. Helsinki was reported to have felt that selling arms to Israel might lead to international complications for the tiny state perched on the Soviet Union’s northern border.

A moratorium on arms shipments to the Middle East was urged today by the Times of London in an editorial which asserted that only when arms ceased to pour into the region “will the dust begin to clear away and the real human and political problems be seen in a clearer light.” The Times noted that an arms ban need not involve any Middle Eastern country in negotiations, yet would provide a “sharp test of Soviet sincerity.”

Asserting that “patience and goodwill” will not solve the problems of the region, the Times said that “Israel cannot be wished away by the Arabs or by anyone else.” It suggested that even if the Arab-Israel conflict were ended all insecurity and instability in the Middle East would not be ended.

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