BRUSSELS (Mar. 23)
The Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs today categorically denied a report in the “Antwerp Gazette” claiming that Belgium is selling Mirage planes to Israel. The Ministry spokesman said that the report “is absolutely false.” The Antwerp Gazette, a Catholic morning paper, said that Belgium has been reselling to Israel the Mirage planes bought in France.
According to the paper a number of Mirages with Israel’s Star of David on their wings (the emblem of the Israeli Air Force) have been seen in a small Belgian military airport near Brussels. The paper added that the Soviet Embassy in Brussels has asked the Belgian government to stop deliveries, promising to make concessions in return.
Among the possible concessions listed by the Antwerp Gazette is the recall of the 15 Soviet spies denounced some time ago by Nicolas Chebotarev. Until now the Soviet government has refused to recall these 15 men who all enjoy diplomatic immunity. The Israeli Embassy in Paris, when questioned by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, also denied the Antwerp report. A spokesman termed it “pure nonsense.”