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Pompidou, Ben Natan to Confer on Franco-israeli Relations

President Georges Pompidou and the Israeli Ambassador Asher Ben Natan are due to meet after the technical and financial problems of the “Mirage affair” will have been settled. French political sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that after this first phase will have been concluded, Pompidou will be open to a discussion of the political and diplomatic differences between France and Israel. The Franco-Israeli talks on the reimbursement of the money paid by Israel for the 50 Mirage planes embargoed on the eve of the Six-Day War are for the time being in their initial phase, namely that which deals with financial and technical matters.

The French sources said that “the President will not discuss financial matters but, once this aspect of the question is settled, he is prepared to examine the wider implications of Franco-Israeli relations.” Israel asked for the meeting with Pompidou earlier this month. Though the Franco-Israeli talks are currently at a standstill. French political circles are hopeful that a solution to the current difficulties will be found.

It is understood that the French negotiators have so far shown themselves stubborn and unprepared to compromise even on financial details. The talks are expected to progress next month after Ben Natan returns from Israel to Paris. The envoy, who is leaving tomorrow for Israel, is expected to consult there with members of the government including Premier Golda Meir. Officially, Ben Natan is accompanying to Israel a delegation of 45 UJA leaders led by Baron Guy de Rothschild.

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