France and Russia end Mistral contract

Russia/Mistral ships/BPC agreement – Press conference given by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at the opening of the new Suez Canal (excerpts)

Cairo, 6 August 2015

Q. – Our news desks are itching to know one thing: the amount France is reimbursing Russia for the Mistrals. One billion, more, less?

THE PRESIDENT – First of all, there are the reasons for these ships not having been delivered to Russia, even though we were bound under a contract with that great, friendly country. It so happens that the situation in Ukraine, and also what’s gone on in eastern Ukraine only in the past few days, has led to the vessel, vessels – since there are two ships, amphibious landing ships – not being delivered.

So in September last year, I said that the conditions hadn’t been met. Since then, there have been a number of discussions, which were concluded in the past few days. I myself spoke to President Putin several times, and a good agreement has been reached.

A good agreement, because the Russians will be reimbursed for the money paid and costs incurred. There will be no penalty and France will be able to have the ships, which haven’t been delivered to Russia, at its disposal. The sum of money is exactly what Russia paid plus the training costs incurred when the contract was entered into, so even before it was suspended.

A bill to ratify this agreement between the two governments will be referred to the French Parliament, and the nation’s elected representatives will be provided with all the information in September.

Furthermore, I want to make it clear – for those who are worried about it, there are still some – that these ships are arousing some interest on the part of many countries and that France will have no difficulty finding a buyer for them, without it costing our country more.

I believe it was important for us to come to this agreement, resolve things with it, without hampering relations between France and Russia. Everyone will have to understand that a certain situation prevented these ships from being delivered. (…)

Russia paid sums of money, you know what they are, and, as the Defence Minister said, Russia will get back less than €1.2 billion: the money it paid France and the costs it incurred. You’ll have the very precise figures, since these will feature in the parliamentary document. And I want Parliament to be the first to have these figures, but France won’t have to pay any penalty, and therefore won’t have any extra costs linked to the termination of this contract. (…)./.

Russia/Mistral ships/BPC agreement/telephone conversation between M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, and his Russian counterpart – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 5 August 2015

The French President and President Putin spoke this afternoon to confirm that France and Russia have reached an agreement to end the contract signed in 2011 which provided for the delivery of two Mistral-class amphibious landing ships (BPC).

According to the terms of this agreement:

- the Russian Federation is reimbursed exclusively and in full for money advanced as part of the contract;

- Russian equipment installed on the ships will be returned;

- France will have full ownership and free disposal of the two ships.

The French President and Mr Vladimir Putin welcomed the warm, open climate of partnership which was a hallmark of the negotiations.

They agreed that the matter was now closed./.

Published on 17/08/2015

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