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Poll Reveals Majority of Frenchmen Disapprove Government’s Mideast Policy

A series of public opinion polls conducted for the newspaper Le Figaro showed that a majority of Frenchmen disapprove of their Government’s Mideast policies and especially its arms sales to the Arabs. One poll, published today, revealed that 55 percent of the French people favor a general arms embargo on the Middle East without any discrimination; 29 percent think France should sell arms to all countries indiscriminately; three percent say only Israel should get French arms and one percent believe they should be sold exclusively to the Arabs.

Another three percent of those questioned said arms should be sold only to the Arabs, but on condition that they are not at war with Israel. Thirty-three percent of the French population believes that France’s relations with Israel have worsened since the departure of former President Charles de Gaulle and 39 percent believe they remain about the same. Another poll covering the South of France where Communists are numerically strong showed a 60 percent disapproval of the Government’s decision to sell arms to Libya. Forty-six percent of those questioned believed that only direct talks between Israel and the Arabs could bring peace to the Middle East. The Libyan arms deal was denounced by four French Nobel Prize winners in an open letter published yesterday. They accused France and the other “great powers” of “supporting and supplying a state of war in the Middle East.”

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