PARIS (Aug. 12)
The French Government last night released a communique branding the interception of a Middle East Airline jetliner by Israeli fighters “as an act to be condemned.” The official statement also stressed that such actions will “worsen Middle East tension” and moreover present a danger to international civil aviation.
French diplomats in Western capitals have been instructed to consult with the local governments in order to present a united stand during the Security Council debate. French diplomats in Washington are expected to meet Monday morning with Department of State officials to inform them of “the gravity with which France views Israel’s overt air piracy.” French sources said that similar contacts will take place in London, Bonn, Rome and Brussels.
In London, the Foreign Office also condemned the Israeli action saying that Britain has been working with other governments at the United Nations for an international agreement to combat terrorism in international aviation and “it does not help those efforts if any of these governments undertake acts of this kind.”
Arab nations called the act “air piracy” and lodged complaints with the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Arab Aviation Council. The International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations condemned the action and its executive secretary, Capt. Charles Jackson, said in London that member organizations in 64 countries “are being consulted as to whether any further action by the federation would assist in preventing further incidents of this nature.”