Negotiations between Russia and France regarding the delivery of Mistral-class helicopter carriers are in progress and a compromise on that matter may be reached within months, Rosoboronexport General Director Anatoly Isaikin said in an interview published by the newspaper Kommersant on Monday.
"Negotiations are on, and it would be premature to speak about [the delivery] of these vessels. The contract terms and the deadlines give the French and us a possibility to seek compromises without taking a legal action or making some other abrupt moves. We will decide what to do next when we run out of time," he said.
There are still about two months left for reaching an agreement, Isaikin stated. "We have about two months left; that is for sure. Compromises can probably be reached and discussed over this period," he said.
In his words, Rosoboronexport is prepared for any turn of events. 'The contract provisions cover for every possible force majeure situation, a side's failure to honor its commitments, etc," he said.
Russia's state arms trader Rosoboronexport and France's DCNS signed a contract to build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. St. Petersburg-based Baltiysky Zavod, part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, built the sterns. The STX France Saint Nazaire shipyard attached the sterns to the bows and put the finishing touches to the ships.
The crews of both ships arrived at the Saint Nazaire shipyard in fall 2014 to participate in the trials of the first ship, the Vladivostok. They waited for the transfer of the Vladivostok to Russia, which was originally scheduled for November, but had to return to Russia after France had denied the transfer under the pressure from NATO allies, primarily the United States.
Some NATO countries, first and foremost the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland, were urging France not to deliver the Mistral ships to Moscow.
The 1.2 billion euro contract for building the two helicopter carriers was signed in June 2011.
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