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Awacs Deal Will Be Priority Item on Begin-reagan Agenda

Premier Menachem Begin told his Cabinet today that he proposed to vigorously oppose the U.S. -AWACS deal with Saudi Arabia even though this would be to directly clash with the wishes of the Reagan Administration. In a Cabinet discussion prior to Begin’s talks in Washington with President Reagan next week, the Premier indicated that the AWACS deal would be a priority item on his agenda. He seemed to signal that Israel would throw its full weight into a congressional struggle against the proposed deal.

The Cabinet discussions were held within the framework of the “Ministerial Defense Committee” which renders its content secret.

Begin and the Ministers who were with him in Alexandria reported on last week’s talks with President Anwar Sadat and his top aides and particularly on the decision to resume the long-stalled autonomy negotiations next month.

On the forthcoming Washington talks, Israel Radio quoted the Premier as saying he would “not be going with a shopping list” but would certainly want to discuss with Reagan Israel’s needs for military and economic aid in the years ahead.

Meanwhile, Finance Ministry officials are completing details of Israel’s financial aid requests from the U.S., to be taken to Washington next month by Finance Minister Yoram Aridor and Ministry Director General Dr. Ezra Sadan. Ministry sources said the requests will total $2.5 billion for fiscal 1983, of which $1.5 billion is for military aid and $1 billion for economic aid. U.S. economic aid has been fixed at $2.2 billion for each of the years of 1981 and 1982.

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