Phone call ends Mistral delivery dispute

AUGUST 5, 2015 — France is to reimburse Russia for all payments made for the Mistral class warship built for Russia under a two ship contract with shipbuilder STX France signed in 2011.

Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in Eastern Ukraine soured the deal, even though the ship was completed in October 2014 and Russian sailors had arrived in France to sail it away.

The deal couldn't be saved and today the ensuing dispute was resolved in a telephone conversation between French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In addition to the repayment of all payments made by Russia under the contract, Russian equipment installed on the two ships will be removed and returned.

France will have full rights to freely dispose of both ships.  

"The President and Mr. Putin welcomed the friendly atmosphere of partnership and open that marked the negotiations," said a statement issued from President Hollande's official residence. "They agreed on the fact that, now, this file has been closed."

A statement from Mr. Putin's headquarters, the Kremlin, said:

"During expert talks, which were held in a friendly atmosphere typical of Russian-French relations, the parties were able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on reimbursing the Russian side for the funds paid under the contract and returning the Russian equipment and materials that had been supplied.

"France has already transferred the refund and once the equipment is returned, it will obtain ownership of both ships and be able to use them.

"Moscow considers the Mistral issue to be fully resolved."

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