PARIS (Feb. 15)
France and Israel signed an agreement today providing reimbursement to Israel for 50 Mirage jet planes embargoed by the late President Charles De Gaulle on the eve of the Six-Day War. A joint communique issued following the signing said France will repay Israel the actual sum it paid for the supersonic aircraft plus interest at the rate of seven percent per annum. The total amount is estimated at about $137 million.
The agreement was signed for France by Christian D’Aumale, deputy chief of the Foreign Ministry’s economic department and for Israel by Ambassador Asher Ben Natan. The signing ended nearly four months of difficult, often bitter negotiations which began last Oct. 20 when Israel agreed in principle to accept reimbursement for the embargoed planes.
Commenting on the agreement, an Israeli diplomat here said, “This is not a happy occasion. We would much have preferred to have had the Mirages.” The Mirages, once the backbone of Israel’s Air force, have become obsolete since they were purchased by Israel in 1967.