PARIS, June 2. /TASS/. One of the two Mistral amphibious assault ships initially built for the Russian Navy has been handed over to Egypt at France’s Atlantic port of Saint Nazaire, the spokesman for the DCNS company, Emmanuel Gaudez, has told TASS.
"The helicopter carrier has been formally handed over to Egypt. Next week it will leave the port and set course towards its final destination," Gaudez said. He avoided disclosing how much Egypt paid for the ship.
"It remains a commercial secret," he said.
The universal ship, originally built for Russia, has been named ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser 1010 in honor of Egypt’s second president (1954-1970). The Egyptian flag was hoisted on board. From this moment the ship is officially part or the Egyptian Navy.
France concluded a contract with Russia for building two Mistral ships in the summer of 2011. In 2014, Paris froze the ships’ delivery over the situation in Ukraine, and in August 2015 Russia and France severed the contract. Under the concluded arrangement Russia had back about €949 million and also all Russian equipment installed on the ships. After that France was free to use the Mistrals at its sole discretion.
Shortly after that Egypt agreed to buy both vessels. The contract was signed in Cairo in October. According to the French Defense Ministry, the deal’s overall value was €950 million. According to some sources, Saudi Arabia helped Egypt to purchase the ships.