01:20 GMT15 May 2021
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    Russia-France Mistral Deal (124)

    French government agencies are fighting over the future of the Mistral deal, French political analyst Xavier Moreau told Radio Sputnik.

    Commenting on the failed Mistral deal, Moreau said that there is a disagreement on the state level between the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    "It is a well-known fact that there is an internal struggle within the French government, especially between the Defense Ministry, which knows well that if France doesn't deliver the two Mistrals to Russia it will cost the country two of its own frigates, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has a purely ideological atlanticist point of view," Moreau told Sputnik.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs deceived the government in Paris by telling that first of all it would be easy to "buy Russians for a song," second, France would easily find other buyers for its Mistrals and third, that the deal would be quickly resolved, Moreau said.

    This is what the French government currently has to deal with, said the political expert, adding that the entire situation is the fault of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    "It [The Ministry of Foreign Affairs] realized that it won't be able to sell Mistrals to other countries, because China is the only potential customer for the French helicopter carriers! But I think Americans will rather prefer France selling the Mistrals to Russia, not China," Moreau said.

    The moment of truth is coming up soon, said the political expert.

    "Either France will pay for the failed deal from the budget of the Defense Ministry or it [the French government] will give them to Russia," Moreau said.

    France and Russia signed the $1.5 billion Mistral deal in 2011. Paris agreed to deliver two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Russia in November of 2014 and June of 2015. However, France suspended the delivery, citing Moscow's alleged interference in the Ukrainian crisis.

    The deal was suspended in May and now France has to refund the money. Russia wants $890 million already pre-paid to France back, as well as a compensation for the purchase of the equipment and crew training. France is reportedly willing to pay around $870 million, a sum Moscow deems unacceptable.

    Selling the ships to a third party is a complicated task, since France needs Moscow's permission to do so. Russia has repeatedly stated that it will not sign off on this, since Mistrals were custom tailored for the Russian Navy making this an issue of national security.

    Russia-France Mistral Deal (124)


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    France, Mistral, conflict, Ukrainian crisis, Mistral delivery, French Defense Ministry, French Foreign Ministry, Russia
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