PARIS (Feb. 2)
President Georges Pompidou received Soviet Ambassador Alexander Zorin today for discussions of “a very important and urgent matter.” No details were given but diplomatic circles believe the topic of their talk was the Middle East, particularly the worsening situation along the Israel-Syrian cease-fire line. Ambassador Zorin said afterwards that Berlin and European security had not been discussed. He would not confirm or deny that he and President Pompidou had conferred on the Middle East.
France’s arms deal with Libya was assailed today by Michel Poniatowsky, secretary-general of the Independent Republicans, a faction in France’s coalition government. He called the deal a “paradox.” He said “strange negotiations are going on with Libya to sell an enormous aerial armada to a country whose 7,000-man army is not big enough to guard a single airport.” M. Poniatowski said “We seek to limit Russian influence in the Mediterranean but forget that the only country capable of doing so is Israel.”