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Stewart Assures 4 Arab Envoys Britain Will Not Enter into Arms Deal with Israel

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Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart assured four Arab ambassadors yesterday that Britain has not entered into any arms deal with Israel and was not attempting to fill the gap left by France’s recent embargo on military equipment and spare parts to Israel. Mr. Stewart denied reports that Britain had agreed to sell 240 Centurion tanks to Israel. Those reports led to his meeting with envoys of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt who had opposed an arms deal with Israel.

Mr. Stewart said that Britain would like an international agreement to limit arms shipments to the Mideast. He said his Government scrutinized all applications for arms from that area and would do nothing to impair prospects for peace. Defense Minister Denis Healey told the House of Commons last Thursday that Britain has arms contracts with Israel and the Arab countries which it intended to honor. The Israel Embassy denied a Daily Mail report that it had said Israel was seeking Centurions.

About 2,000 Arabs chanting “down with Zionism” marched on the American Embassy here today to protest what they called “Israeli-U.S. aggression in the Middle East.” The march was organized by the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding.

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