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French opposition demands explanations for severing Mistral deal with Russia

August 13, 2015, 20:04 UTC+3 PARIS
The Republican party deputies headed by former President Nicolas Sarkozy insist on the importance of setting up a special parliamentary commission
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©  AP Photo/Laetitia Notarianni

PARIS, August 13. /TASS/. Reports saying the breakup of the agreement with Russia on the delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers will cost twice as much as declared by the Elysees Palace have triggered agitated polemics in France, with the main opposition parties demanding an official account from the authorities.

The Republican party deputies headed by former President Nicolas Sarkozy insist on the importance of setting up a special parliamentary commission.

"The French people have the right to know how much this irresponsible decision (to sever the agreement with Russia TASS) has cost them," the Republican party said at its official website. "We call for setting up a parliamentary commission to verify the figures that are to be submitted to parliament soon."

The authors of the initiative are the deputies Philippe Meunier and Philippe Vitel.

Marine Le Pen's Front National has also made its stance known. She demanded that Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Driane resignation, since he was "covering up the presidential lies".

Le Driane said at the beginning of August that payments on the undelivered Mistral ships would be smaller than the starting price of €1.2 billion. The amount will be smaller, as the second ships hasn't been completed yet and the contract on it was suspended, the minister said, adding that Russia would get back exactly the amount of money that it had paid.

On the face of it, the newspaper Le Canard enchaine said on Wednesday the breakup of the agreement with Russia will be far costlier for Paris than what the French government has been saying in its claims. The actual losses will stand at around €2 billion, as the government disregarded some some expenses initially, the article said.

The exact sum that the French government will be expected to pay to Moscow will be announced at hearings in parliament.

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