Iraq’s President Ends Paris Talks Without French Arms Commitment
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Iraq’s President Ends Paris Talks Without French Arms Commitment

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President Aref of Iraq left here yesterday without a formal commitment by France to provide him with Jet planes or other armaments but with a joint communique, signed with President de Gaulle, stipulating that “there is no possibility of a settlement in the Middle East without prior withdrawal (by Israel) from all occupied territories.” Franco-Iraqi negotiations on arms deliveries, particularly the Mirage jet planes, will continue, official circles reported today. President Aref will visit Cairo before returning to Baghdad.

The final communique made no mention of either arms deliveries to Iraq or the granting of rights to a French petroleum company to exploit the Roumeila oil fields in Iraq. Both of these points were brought up by President Aref in press interviews during his Paris stay. He told Le Monde Friday that “if we obtain French arms, and this is not certain, they will be used to equip our army for defensive purposes and not to initiate war.” He indignantly denied charges by Gen. Barzani, leader of the Kurdish nationalists in Iraq, that the French arms might be used on the Kurds.On the question of a Middle East settlement, Pres. Aref said “we demand first of all, the unconditional withdrawal of the Israelis from territories occupied last June 5 and we are in full agreement with Gen. de Gaulle’s condemnation of Israel’s expansionism.”

(The Daily Telegraph reported in London yesterday that Pres. Aref made a futile last minute attempt to have Gen. de Gaulle delete a passage from his speech saying that a Middle East settle- ment must include a permanent peace with Israel and free navigation in the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba. Gen. de Gaulle made the speech at a reception Thursday honoring Pres. Aref at the Paris City Hall.)

(According to the Telegraph, Gen. de Gaulle was believed to have offered Iraq not only Mirage Jets, as well as tanks and tactical missiles but French support for Arab policies in a package deal for a “just peace” to include the re-drawing of frontiers by an international commission and Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territory,)

President Aref used the reception in his honor as the occasion for a speech bitterly assailing Israel and Zionism. The reception was boycotted by many prominent Frenchmen who had been invited as was a luncheon given in Aref’s honor by the Paris municipal corporation. On that occasion too, the Iraqi leader assailed Israel and warned that “Zionist pressure” might paralyze the United Nations.

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