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Media say France hopes to sell Mistrals to Egypt for €950 mln

September 23, 2015, 19:36 UTC+3 PARIS

French Defense Ministry officials avoid commenting on progress in the talks on selling Mistral helicopter carriers to Egypt

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© AP Photo/David Vincent, File

PARIS, September 23. /TASS/. France hopes to sell two helicopter-carrying amphibious assault ships of the Mistral class to Egypt for €950 million, Reuters said quoting a source at the French Defense Ministry.

At the same time French Defense Ministry officials avoid commenting on progress in the talks with Egypt or disclosing the likely value of the contract.

"At this phase we are not going to make any comments," a Defense Ministry official told TASS.

Earlier, a reliable source in the DCNS company, which built ships under a contract with Russia, said that so far only preliminary agreement has been achieved.

"The details of the deal are still to be coordinated," the official added.

The French daily Tribune has published a similar report.

According to the periodical, an Egyptian delegation earlier arrived in Paris on instructions from President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

"There is one stumbling block, and a large one. The talks are stalled over the price of Mistrals. The Egyptians say it is too high," the paper says.

In any case France has no right to sell the ships to Egypt until all Russian equipment has been dismantled, as follows from the contract severing the deal, signed by the secretary-general of the French Defense and National Security Council Louis Gautier and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on August 5.

The document says that France has no right to sell or re-export the ships to any third party until Russia has received the full compensation and equipment installed on them earlier under the contract with Moscow.

The dismantling of Russian equipment from two Mistral ships at Saint-Nazaire will end no earlier than by the end of this year, the DCNS company told TASS.

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