05:52 GMT +316 December 2019
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    The Sevastopol mistral warship is on its way for its first sea trials, on March 16, 2015 off Saint-Nazaire

    Several Countries 'Line Up' to Buy French Mistrals Built for Russia

    © AFP 2019 / GEORGES GOBET
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    Deal Cancelled: What Will Paris Do With Russia's Mistrals? (57)
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    Paris expressed hope that a deal on selling two Mistral-class helicopter carriers initially built for Russia to a new buyer would be ready in the coming weeks, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

    "Several countries have queued up to buy the vessels. I’m pretty optimistic and believe that a new buyer will come up in the coming weeks," the minister said.

    Earlier, French media reported that a number of countries have expressed interest in buying the carriers, including Canada, India, Singapore and Egypt.

    On Thursday, the French National Assembly approved a bill to terminate the deal between Russian and France on the delivery of two Mistral-class amphibious ships. Thirteen lawmakers voted for, and eight – against.

    Now, the bill will be submitted to the Senate on September 30, on the last day of the extraordinary parliamentary session.

    Russia and France inked a €1.2 billion agreement to deliver two Mistral-class amphibious ships in 2011. The contract was signed by the Russian company Rosoboronexport and French naval defense company DCNS/STX.

    France was due to deliver the first Mistral – the Vladivostok – to Russia in November 2014. However, the delivery was delayed due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the West.

    In early-August, Moscow and Paris agreed to terminate the deal. After the Russian equipment is dismantled from both ships France will be able to sell them to a new buyer.

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    Deal Cancelled: What Will Paris Do With Russia's Mistrals? (57)

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    France, military, Mistral, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Russia
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