TEL AVIV (Jan. 19)
Military cooperation between Israel and Zaire has been the principal subject of discussion at all of the meetings held so far between Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire since the Israeli defense chief arrived in Zaire Monday an a five-day official visit.
Mobutu announced on an Israel Radio interview from Kinshasa last night that Israel would replace Belgium as the trainer of his army’s crack Camaniola Division which is deployed in the mineral rich Shaba region near the Zambian border. Mobutu said Israel would also supply his forces with artillery, mortars and communications equipment under the terms of a five year military agreement.
The Zaire leader stressed, however, that he will maintain military cooperation with France, Belgium and China as well as with Israel. He said he hoped to visit Israel shortly but no date has been set. Sharon is on his second visit to Zaire. Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yitzhak Shamir visited that country last month.
The five-year military agreement which includes the re-equipment and training of the Zaire army and the establishment and training of a Presidential guard was drafted by Sharon’s aide, Maj. Gen. Avraham Tamir. Tamir, former chief of the planning branch at Israel army General Headquarters, accompanied Sharon on his trips to Zaire and also visited that country separately to study its military needs.