PARIS (Jan. 8)
The government confirmed today reports of a Franco-Saudi Arabian oil agreement, but made no mention of Mirage fighter-bombers. The agreement concluded by the two nations and announced by Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani in Geneva last night provides for the delivery of 30 million tons of Saudi Arabian crude oil to France over a 3-year period. Although press reports that France in return would provide Saudi Arabia with Mirages were neither denied or confirmed, well informed sources indicate that negotiations for the provision of some kind of military equipment to Saudi Arabia are still in progress. Several press reports have recently speculated about a Franco-Saudi Arabian arms-for-oil agreement in which France would furnish the Arab nation with Mirage jets. A spokesman for the aircraft company, Dassault, builder of Mirages, called these rumors “absolutely false and erroneous.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Michel Jobert has set Jan. 23 or 24 as the date of departure for his first visit to Saudi Arabia. He is also due to stop off in Kuwait and has hinted he may also go to Jerusalem.