Israel, a major supplier of arms to South Africa, announced yesterday that it will adhere to the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an arms embargo against Pretoria for repression of its black majority.
"Israel conducts its relations with South Africa on a legal basis," a spokesman in Jerusalem said, "and if there is a Security Council resolution Israel will not violate it."
Meanwhile, French maritime officials said trial runs of a warship built for the South African navy had been halted while France weighed whether to deliver the vessel, which was ordered by South Africa before the U.N. vote.
The 1,250-ton corvette Good Hope was confined to a shipyard blocked by a closed bridge, apparently to prevent the South African crew that has been putting the ship through sea trials from the attempting to take it to South Africa.
Before Friday's U.N. vote, France had indicated that it would honor two contracts for four ships - the Good Hope, another similar vessel and two submarines. A year ago, France imposed a ban on all arms sales to South Africa except for the naval vessels.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry statement was issued to clarify a remark Sunday by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan that Israel "will not abandon South Africa because of President Carter's position" supporting the arms embargo.
Dayan told a group of visiting American University professors that "it is not the business of the President of the United States whom we have for friends so long as we are within the limits of the law."
The Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters yesterday that Israel was studying the U.N. resolution, "and will draw its conclusions."
This statement seems to imply that Israel might allow South Africa to continue producing Israeli arms under an existing licensing arrangement. South Africa reportedly makes Dabur patrol boats and Uzi submachine guns under Israeli licenses.
The resolution called on all U.N. members to immediately halt providing South Africa with arms, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, as well as new licenses for manufacturing such materials. It also called on all countries to "review" existing licenses with South Africa "with a view to terminating them."
In addition to the licensing arrangement, Israel reportedly has supplied South Africa with mortars, electronic equipment and Gabriel missiles for patrol boats.
Experts at the United Nations said the embargo is not likely to weaken South Africa's defense arrangments in the near future. They said the country's well-stocked military machine does not need many imports, and the country can continue to acquire equipment through existing contracts, loopholes in the resolution and smuggling.
South Africa, in expectation of such a move, increased defense expenditutes to $1.5 billion in 1976 and is expected to spend more than $1.8 billion in 1977, the experts said.