France suspends Mistral warship delivery to Russia

France suspends Mistral warship delivery to Russia

3Paris, Sep 4 (IANS)¬†France has suspended the delivery of first of the two Mistral warships to Russia as “conditions are not in place”, President Francois Hollande announced Wednesday.

“Despite the prospect of a ceasefire which has yet to be confirmed and implemented, the conditions for France to deliver the first warship are not to date in place,” Xinhua quoted a statement from Hollande’s office as saying.

The statement came on the eve of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Wales, where leaders will discuss pressing issues concerning situations in eastern Europe, the Middle East and north Africa.

Turning deaf ears to US and Britain’s calls to suspend the business accord and to impose tougher sanction on Russia, Hollande had earlier announced that the first Mistral warship to Russia will be delivered in October, while the handover of a second would “depend on Moscow’s attitude”.

The two ships were commissioned by Russia in 2011 at a cost of $1.6 billion. The first of these, the Vladivostok, was due to come into service at the end of this year, with the second, the Sevastopol, due to be completed in 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who put forth a seven-point plan Wednesday aimed at settling the ongoing Ukraine crisis, said earlier that Moscow would not further develop military-technical relations with Paris should the latter fails to fulfil the contract.

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