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French Major Arms Deal with Jordan is in the Works

French Defense Minister Charles Hernu held talks today with Jordanian officials reportedly to finalize a major arms deal which will include French missiles equivalent to U.S.-built Stingers.

Reports here say France has agreed to sell Jordan an undisclosed number of Mistrals, a surface-to-air missile not yet in production and described by French officials as superior to the Stinger.

President Reagan last March cancelled a deal to provide Jordan with 1,300 shoulder-held Stinger missiles and anti-aircraft batteries because of mounting pressure in Congress which feared that the arms could eventually be used against Israel. Jordan started negotiating soon afterwards with both France and the Soviet Union for equivalent weapons.

Hemu arrived last night in Amman after having had to cut short a previous visit in September because of the crisis in the Chad. France had then already agreed to provide Jordan with the Mistrals, 13 Mirage F-I jet fighters and electronic equipment as well as early warning material.

During today’s talks final agreement on these sales was reportedly reached and Hernu reiterated France’s earlier decision to continue to provide Jordan with all the defensive weapons it needs.

France and Jordan have set up a joint committee to study Jordanian military needs and the means to finance French arms sales to the Hashemite kingdom. The Jordanian news agency Petra monitored here said a solution to the financial problems is in sight.

There will be no Daily News Bulletin dated October 19, Succoth holiday

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