PARIS (Aug. 20)
France accused Israel today of disregarding international law and carrying out “preventive strikes” in Lebanon which endanger peace and stability. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean Bressot said that Israel’s raid yesterday in southern Lebanon “cannot be considered a reprisal but is a preventive strike.”
The French government also issued a communique accusing Israel of not only endangering Lebanon’s territorial integrity and stability but of worsening the situation within the entire Middle East. The communique said Israel’s raids in Lebanon were “running contrary to the EEC’s attempts to restore peace in the area.”
The French blast is one of the harshest leveled at Israel in recent years and was reported personally approved by President Volery Giscord d’Estaing. The French have appealed to the other EEC member states to press Holland to transfer its embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, reportedly claiming that Israel’s raids in Lebanon show “Israeli intransigency.”
The French government’s communique followed the disclosure here that a French engineering concern, Thomson – C.F.F., has just won a $1 billion contract to set up on electronic industry in Iraq.
The Iraqi government’s contract with the French concern provides for the creation of a sophisticated electronic industry which will produce communication equipment, radar and military devices. The company last year signed a similar contract with Saudi Arabia where work has reportedly already started on a radar plant and a factory for the production of air-to-air missiles.
Iraq has become one of France’s main trading partners in the Middle East, swapping oil for combat planes, helicopters, nuclear material, missiles and enriched uranium. It is France’s second largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia.