PARIS (Apr. 25)
Israeli Ambassador Asher Ben Natan reiterated today Israel’s charges that Libyan Mirages have been delivered to Egypt. Ben Natan told newsmen on his arrival here from a brief home leave that “We have evidence that 16 out of the 60 Mirages delivered to Libya are stationed in Egypt.” He said that Egypt has also built special underground installations to store the French-made planes “out of sight.”
The Israeli envoy said that he planned to see French Foreign Minister Michel Jobert “at the earliest” moment. The Ambassador refused to disclose the purpose of the meeting but observers here believe that he has been instructed to deliver a stiff protest over what seems to be France’s breach of its own terms in the Mirage deal.
France, acting on a ruling of Gen. Charles de Gaulle, reiterated by President Georges Pompidou in Jan. 1970, barred arms exports to “all the participants in the 1967 Middle East war.” The Franco-Libyan arms agreement providing for the sale of 120 French made planes to Col. Qaddafi’s air force specifies that these should not be handed over to a third party.
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban charged last week that Libya was violating the contract and summoned French Ambassador Francis Hure to formally protest against France’s stand on this issue. An opposition member of the French Parliament, Gen. Paul Stehlin, today-asked French Premier Pierre Messmer what steps France intends to take should it appear that the Israeli accusations are found to be true. The Premier is expected to reply some time-next week.