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Britain Will Continue to Supply Arms to the Middle East to Assure Balance

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A Government spokesman said in the House of Commons today that Britain would supply arms to Middle Eastern states because “We don’t wish to leave any country in the Middle East at such a disadvantage that some aggressor might be tempted to take advantage of the situation.” Evan Luard, the Joint Parliamentary Secretary said that Britain had unilaterally applied an arms embargo on the Middle East after the June, 1967 Six-Day War “but this was of no value as long as other countries kept sending arms.” Mr. Luard spoke in reply to Ray Fletcher, a Laborite MP, who called for a complete review of Government policies on arms sales, particularly the supply of Chieftain tanks which Israel has sought to buy, so far in vain. Mr. Fletcher warned that “the global balance of power is being affected by what is happening in the Middle East.” He criticized the French Government for introducing the “most imbalanced factor” into an already dangerous situation by its sale of Mirage jets and other weapons to Libya.

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