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British Foreign Secretary Rejects Arms Embargo on Mideast

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Foreign Secretary James Callaghan said today an effective agreement limiting arms in the Middle East is “possible only with the support of the parties to the dispute and in the context of a general agreement.” His statement was a reply to a question from a Labor MP, Frank Allaun, who suggested that in order to encourage the Mideast negotiations. Britain should prohibit the proposed arms sale to Egypt and future arms sales to Israel and take the initiative for a joint embargo in arms to the Middle East supplied by Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union.

Callaghan stressed that no arms exporter could ship out arms from Britain without a license. “But the situation is quite simply at the moment that if Britain were not to meet minimum requests from these countries, not only would they feel that Britain was unwilling to assist but also they would turn elsewhere perhaps to quarters you would not wish them to turn.” Another Labor MP, Robin Corbett, suggested that at least an attempt could be made at limiting arms to the Mideast since if the countries involved did not have the means to wage war it would make a new war unlikely. “Yes, but that is an ideal situation and I live in a world of reality,” Callaghan replied. “There is not the faintest chance of this being achieved.”

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