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Iran Press TV

France rejects UK censure of Russia deal

Iran Press TV

Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:29AM GMT

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has accused the UK of hypocrisy following criticism by London against France's sale of built Mistral warships to Russia.

Referring to the presence of Russian oligarchs in the UK, Fabius said in a televised interview on Tuesday that Britain must attend to its own backyard before attacking French policies.

Following the crash of a Malaysia Airlines plane in Ukraine, British Prime Minister David Cameron censured Paris for its plan to go ahead with the delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. Cameron further emphasized that the move would be "unthinkable" in Britain.

Speaking to TF1 television after a meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels, Fabius said, "The English in particular were very pleasant so to speak saying we would never do that, but I told my dear British friends let's talk about the financial sector."

"I am led to believe that there are quite a few Russian oligarchs in London," he added.

When asked whether he meant that Britain must first address its own business, Fabius replied, "Exactly."

This is while French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that the plan to deliver the Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia would go forward, despite calls from the US and the UK not to go ahead with the deliveries. The first ship is nearly completed and is due to be delivered in October.

France will be the first NATO country to supply Russia with military equipment. Under the 1.2-billion-euro-contract (worth 1.6 billion dollars) signed by Russian defense exporting company Rosoboronexport and French DCNS in June 2011, Russia is to receive two Mistral-class helicopter carriers.

MFB/HJL



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