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Russia/sale of Mistral ships

Published on August 11, 2014
Interview given by M. Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, to RFI
Paris, July 22, 2014

(…)

Q. – France’s sale of the Mistrals, the two military ships, will probably be discussed in Brussels this afternoon. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, thinks it would be unthinkable, in the circumstances, for this sale to go through; hasn’t France got any second thoughts?

THE MINISTER – As France has said, if there were to be a certain degree of responsibility on the part of Russia, obviously all this would be called into question. It depends on Russia’s attitude, both as regards the investigation due to be carried out into the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, and also concerning the resolution of the Ukraine crisis…

Q. – And Crimea’s annexation, for example, isn’t reason enough for cancelling this sale?

THE MINISTER – Once again, this is about a further level of sanctions which could concern future deliveries of equipment, for the second Mistral in particular. The first has actually been paid for, but obviously, depending on Russia’s attitude, a further level of sanctions in the future…

Q. – So it isn’t being ruled out that this second Mistral won’t be sold?

THE MINISTER – Today it isn’t being ruled out, but nothing is being ruled out. The aim of the sanctions is to get Russia to agree to cooperate not only now on the investigation, but also on resolving the conflict with Ukraine. It’s been France’s approach from the outset: firmness and dialogue to find a political solution./.

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