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    The Sevastopol amphibious assault ship of the Mistral class at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.

    Lavrov: Controversy Around Mistral Deal Is France's Responsibility

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    If France fails to meet its contractual obligations, the litigation process will not take long, Russian foreign minister said.

    SOCHI, November 26 (Sputnik) — France is responsible for the controversy around the delivery of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to the Russian navy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

    French President Francois Hollande announced on Tuesday the suspension of a $1.6 billion deal with Russia in light of Moscow's alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict.

    "I don't want to comment on that. These are France's problems, not ours," Lavrov told reporters in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

    "We are protected by contract. If France fails to meet its contractual obligations, the litigation process will not take long, I think," Lavrov said.

    However, on Tuesday Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov commeted on the issue, saying that Moscow currently has no plans to file claims against France over Hollande's decision to put the Mistral warship deal on hold.

    "No, we are not planning to file any [claims] at the moment,” Borisov said. “Everything is specified in the contract, and we will act under that contract, just like all civilized people do," he added.

    Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. The vessels, capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, 70 armored vehicles and 450 troops, are expected to join Russia's Pacific Fleet.

    The handover of the first ship, the Vladivostok, was scheduled for November 14, but did not take place.

    Following the start of a crisis in Ukraine, French President Francois Hollande threatened to suspend delivery of the ships citing Moscow’s alleged involvement in the conflict. This followed US President Barack Obama’s statement that Paris should "press the pause button" on the sale.

    According to a poll, conducted by French newspaper Le Figaro, about 60 percent of French citizens believe Paris should meet its obligation under the contract and deliver the helicopter carriers to Russia.

    Topic:
    Russia-France Mistral Deal (124)

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    France, Mistral delivery, Francois Hollande, Russia
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