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Chirac Quoted on Bonn View of El Al Bomb Plot

November 10, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Washington Times published in today's editions a full transcript of its interview with French Minister of External Affairs Jacques Chirac after Chirac denied saying West German officials believed Israeli intelligence was involved in the attempted bombing of an El Al airliner.

In its transcript, the Times quoted Chirac as saying of the plot to smuggle a bomb aboard the airliner at London's Heathrow Airport:

"I spoke to both (West German Chancellor Helmut) Kohl and (Foreign Minister) Hans-Dietrich Genscher about it. I don't go as far as they do, but their thesis is that the Hindawi plot was a provocation designed to embarrass Syria and destabilize the (Hafed) Assad regime (in Syria)." Britain broke diplomatic relations with Syria after Nezar Hindawi, a Jordanian, was convicted and sentenced to 45 years in prison for the April 17 attempt to smuggle a bomb aboard the airliner.

Chirac, according to the transcript, added: "Who was behind it? Probably people connected with the Israeli Mossad (secret service) in conjunction with certain Syrian elements close to Assad who seek his overthrow. Things of this nature can be infinitely complex."

Later, Chirac was quoted as saying:

"The experts who know the Syrian ambassador (Loutof Allah Haydar), who was alleged to have been part of the plot and who was expelled from Britain, say it is utterly implausible, nay impossible, that he had contact with Hindawi. That Hindawi had contacts with certain members of a Syrian service is another matter."

Both Chirac's office and the West German government denied the paper's original report on Chirac's comments. Israel termed the report "ridiculous."

The newspaper said Chirac had agreed to the tape-recorded interview by the editor-in-chief, Arnaud de Borchgrave, on condition that he not be quoted directly. The paper said it decided to publish the transcript to defend its reputation.

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