PARIS (Feb. 7)
Israel and France have reached an agreement on reimbursement for 50 Mirage V jet fighters embargoed by the late President Charles De Gaulle on the eve of the 1967 Six-Day War. But Israel has failed to achieve a settlement of its overall political and diplomatic differences with France which it apparently hoped for when it reversed its position last year and agreed to accept monetary compensation for the supersonic planes, now obsolete, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today.
The French and Israeli negotiators met today. According to reliable sources it was their final meeting prior to a formal signing of their agreement. French approval of the deal was made known at last Friday’s meeting and the Israelis informed the French of their government’s approval today, the JTA was informed.
The sum France will pay Israel, partly in credit for Israeli purchases of French goods, comes to $75 million according to reliable sources. This covers the price Israel paid originally for the Mirages plus interest at an undisclosed rate on the money tied up in the planes which Israel never got. Sources here said today that all that remains to be worked out are two small details–the length of the credit and the rate of delivery of the goods Israel will buy here.
Israel had hoped to achieve an overall rapprochement with France on such basic issues as the Middle East situation, French diplomatic initiatives, French aid to Arab armies and the European Common Market problem. But none of these unsettled issues was even broached in the Mirage talks, the JTA learned. Even the technical arrangements for reimbursement gave no indication that the French were prepared to go half way. Agreement was made possible only when Israel gave up its demand for compensation for breach of contract.