Begin appears to accept US word on an arms edge

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President Reagan's assurances to Israel that the United States will continue to support Israel's ''qualitative'' edge in weaponry over Arab states appears to have satisfied Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

A senior Israeli official said Wednesday the letter - which discounted the possibility the Reagan administration would sell F-16 jets and mobile antiaircraft missiles to Jordan - ''was more or less in line'' with Israeli wishes.

Special US negotiator Richard Fairbanks arrived in Israel Feb. 17 for four days of meetings before visiting Egypt next week.

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An Israeli official says Israel wants an autonomy agreement before April 25, when it evacuates Sinai. Egypt, however, remains reluctant to rush into an agreement.

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