MIDLAND, Texas -- Former President Gerald Ford continued his campaign in favor of the administration's Saudi arms package Tuesday, saying stopping the sale would deliver a 'disastrous blow' to U.S. relations in the Middle East.
Ford said he did not understand why there is so so much opposition to President Reagan's proposed $8.5 billion military arms sale that includes five AWACS radar planes, noting the planes would not be delivered to Saudi Arabia for at least five years.
'A lot can happen in five years,' Ford said at a news conference. 'In my judgment, if the Senate rejects the sale it would be a disastrous blow to American relations in the Middle East.'
The former president, in Midland to make a speech, also reiterated that the Palestine Liberation Organization should be brought into Mideast peace negotiations if it recognizes Israel's right to exist.
Asked if the United States should boycott oil from Libya, Ford said Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy is 'a bully and a cancer in the Mideast and we should totally disassociate ourselves from him and Libya as a country.'