Egypt to buy Mistrals ordered by Russia from France

SEPTEMBER 23, 2015 —  A brief announcement from the Élysée Palace, the official residence of the President of France, said today that President Francois Hollande and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had agreed on the principle and terms of the purchase by Egypt of the two Mistral class helicopter carriers previously contracted by Russia.

The Élysée statement did not specify the price, but Reuters is quoting a source close to Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian as saying that the price tag for two warships will be around $1.06 billion and delivery will be around March 2016.

The original Russian contract for the ships signed in 2011 with shipbuilder STX France was valued at $1.3 billion, but was suspended last year in the midst of pressures following Russia's annexation of the Crimea and continuing unrest in eastern Ukraine.

That deal was formally canceled earlier this year with France reimbursing the Russian side for the funds paid under the contract and returning the Russian equipment and materials supplied for them.

The deal with Egypt will include the costs of training of 400 Egyptian personnel in the Saint-Nazaire shipyards in France, Reuters quotes its source as saying.

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