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France’s National Front believes Paris should stand firm on delivery of Mistrals to Russia

October 30, 2014, 17:11 UTC+3 PARIS

Vice President of the rightwing National Front party said that if France wants to pursue moral principles, it would then be logical to sever cooperation with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and China

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© ITAR-TASS/Vadim Zhernov

PARIS, October 30. /TASS/. France should not succumb to pressures from the US in what concerns the delivery of Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia, Florian Phillipot, a Vice President of the rightwing National Front party said here on Thursday.

As he commented on a statement by Finance Minister Michel Sapin, who said earlier on the same day conditions for the delivery of Mistrals to Russia had not taken shape yet due to concerns over the situation in Ukraine, Phillipot said it's time Paris got to its feet and stopped taking instructions from the US.

He indicated that if France would like to pursue moral principles rather than pragmatic considerations in its foreign policy, it would then be logical to sever cooperation with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and China, but this would mean an absolutely irresponsible approach.

Paris has contractual obligation that must be honored, Phillipot said, adding that trust in and reputation of the country as a reliable supplier of defence equipment is at stake.

On the other hand, it is also a question of finances and Frances is running the risk of a necessity to pay a multi-billion penalty, he said.

Officials at the Elysees Palace still refrain from comments on a possible handover to Russia of the first Mistral ship that has been christened the Vladivostok. Executives at the shipyards in Saint Nazaire told TASS the helicopter carrier is fully ready for delivery and only a political decision on the part of France’s top state officials is needed.

At the beginning of the week, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said President Hollande would take a decision sometime in November. However, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday that the transfer of the first Mistral to the Russian Navy was to take place in two weeks’ time.

“Rosoboronexport (Russia’s government-owned weaponry trading corporation - TASS) has received an invitation to arrive in Saint Nazaire on November 14 where 360 Russian seamen and 60 instructors are currently getting trained for a handover of the Vladivostok and for the floating of the second Mistral,” Rogozin said.

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