Mistral Deal With Russia Still on Hold - French Foreign Minister
21:33 12.02.2015(updated 22:07 12.02.2015)
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the implementation of the 2011 agreement on delivering Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia is still up in the air.
PARIS (Sputnik) – The delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia under the 2011 deal is still suspended despite the positive outcome of the Minsk talks on the Ukrainian crisis resolution, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Thursday.
'How can we fulfill in present conditions the deal that has been struck several years ago?' Fabius said in an interview with iTele television, referring to the current standoff between Kiev and self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics in eastern Ukraine.
'The implementation of the contract is still on hold,' the minister said.
The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany convened in Minsk Wednesday and early Thursday to reach a deal on Ukrainian reconciliation. The new agreement calls for a ceasefire to begin at midnight on February 15 and also demands the mutual withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides to create a security zone.
In 2011, Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and French shipbuilder DCNS agreed a $1.5 billion deal on the delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia. Paris was to deliver the first helicopter carrier last November, but the delivery did not take place. French President Francois Hollande stated that the shipment was suspended due to Russia's alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis.
In early December 2014, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called any speculation about the contract's cancellation 'premature.'
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