U.S. Lifts Arms Embargo for Mideast; Israel to Get a Few Skyhawk Jets

The State Department officially announced today that “selected items” of military equipment, in limited quantities, have been released for shipment to Israel and five Arab states.

Israel will receive a small number of the Douglas Skyhawk jets purchased in 1966. Morocco and Libya will also receive military jets. Munitions of various types, other than aircraft, will go to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Tunisia. The provision of U.S. weapons to Jordan remains “under consideration,” State Department spokesman Robert McCloskey said. Today’s announcement pertained to the embargo on arms shipments to the Middle East placed in effect by the U.S.A. last June.

Mr. McCloskey noted that Soviet arms shipments to the Middle East were being “maintained at a substantially high level” to Egypt, Syria and Iraq. The Russians also are understood to have offered munitions to other Arab states. Mr. McCloskey added that the United States Government still was interested in seeking an agreement with the USSR to limit the flow of arms to the Mideast, but so far has had no success.

According to Mr. McCloskey, the Arabs required spare parts. It was indicated that Libya and Morocco needed planes. Israel, in addition to the limited number of planes, will receive spare parts, repair equipment, and components for radio and other equipment. He said all the items cleared were “within the spirit of restraint.”

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