Egypt to buy Mistral warships originally built for Russia from France

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France has agreed to sell two Mistral helicopter carriers to Egypt, which were originally ordered by Russia.

“They agreed on the principle and the terms of the acquisition by Egypt of the two [ships],” the French President Francois Hollande’s spokesman told reporters in a statement on Wednesday.

The Mistrals contract, worth €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion), was signed by France’s DCNS/STX and Russia’s Rosoboronexport in 2011. The contract specified that two French helicopter carriers would be delivered to Russia, the first in 2014 and the second in 2015. Russia was to partly manufacture the vessel hulls and provide its own military electronic equipment for the warships.

However, the French government decided not to hand the vessels over to Moscow after it came under intense political pressure from the US and its European allies following Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the outbreak of armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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