France to Fulfill Mistral Contract with Russia as Scheduled – Foreign Minister
PARIS, July 22 (RIA Novosti) – Paris doesn't call into question compliance with its obligations under the Mistral helicopter carriers deal signed with Russia, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told TF1 TV-channel Tuesday.
"This contract was signed during the previous government in 2011. According to international laws, a signed and prepaid contract has to be fulfilled," Fabius said.
Meanwhile, U.S. State Department once again criticized France for sticking to the Mistral contract.
The delivery of Mistral warships to Russia would be 'completely inappropriate' in the light of the recent events in Ukraine, deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.
Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011.
Under the contract, the first ship, the Vladivostok, is to be delivered to Russia by the end of the year, while the second, the Sevastopol, is due in 2015.
The vessels are capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armored vehicles and 450 soldiers each, and are expected to be deployed with Russia's Pacific Fleet.
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