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Mistral: 4 Countries including Egypt are Interested in the Purchase of Ships

Four countries have expressed an interest in the purcase of the Mistral Ships
A warship Mistral, March 16, 2015, in the port of Saint-Nazaire – GEORGES GOBET AFP

Four countries – Canada, India, Singapore, and especially Egypt …

Four countries, Canada, India, Singapore, and especially Egypt have expressed “serious” interest for the purchase of the Mistral warships after the cancellation of the sale by France to Russia, said a senior French official to parliamentarians, while giving details of the bill for the construction and the ‘six months’ dismantling of Russian equipment.

Disassembly in the port of Saint-Nazaire of Russian military equipment integrated with two “projection and command ships” (GCP), is expected to last until January, according to information submitted by the secretary general of the Defense and Security National (SGDSN), Louis Gautier, parliamentary and obtained Friday by AFP.

Disassembly and the return of equipment to Russia, which began in August, “are scheduled to last six months” or at the very beginning of 2016, he explained during a double hearing in the National Assembly and the Senate on Tuesday.

Teams of engineers and Russian technicians, assisted by French technical teams are currently participating in the project, confirmed his entourage.

Under the agreement signed with Moscow, “it is only after the return” of Russian equipment “that France will have the right to export the following written information of Russia” by Paris, as SGDSN.

The bill endorsing the Franco-Russian agreement of Paris after the decision to abandon the delivery of two Mistral ships, due to the involvement of Moscow in the Ukrainian crisis, should be discussed Thursday at the Assembly.

Resale – still to materialize with further costs to be endured for the cost of dismantling the Russian equipment on board and refitting vessels, and various other maintenance costs have raised concerns of a heavy financial cost for France.

– Resell Mistral quickly at the best price –

The SGDSN, who was the French negotiator with Moscow on this issue, however, refuted the total bill of € 2 billion advanced by the Duck chained, an amount deemed “absurd” within the government body, which depends on the Matignon .

The compensation mechanism in this case is complex, 949.7 million euros have already been paid by the Bank of France to the Russian central bank at the conclusion of the agreement with Moscow on the 5th August.

This amount is a refund of 893 million paid by Russia, plus an additional amount of 56.7 million euros paid by the French State, to cover the cost of the training of the Russian sailors.

This is the only the amount paid by the state, but the bill is expected to rise: the cost of construction exceeded the advances paid by the Russians and we must add costs of caretaking and maintenance in operational condition vessels. However, these expenses amounted “to 2 million per month” for the two ships, according SGDSN.

“The amounts ultimately guaranteed by Coface could be of the order of 1.1 billion euros, and it will subtract the amount of the transaction” if resold, said Mr Gautier elected.

This amount does not however include the replacement costs of Russian equipment for resale to another country, this amount is not yet known.

And if the builder of vessels, shipyards DCNS group is covered by the credit insurer Coface, it is for the contract on behalf of the state, meaning that it is the Treasury that will pay finally.

To limit the financial loss, Paris hopes to quickly resell the ships at the best price.

Canada, India, Singapore, and especially Egypt have expressed “serious” interest in the ships, said Mr Gautier to parliamentarians,

Egypt, where the Prime Minister Manuel Valls has to go in October, appears as the “prospect” the most advanced, confirmed a government source to AFP. Especially as the equipment in the Egyptian Navy are similar to those that the Russians are trying to remove from the two ships.

The work necessary to sell vessels to Canada, which has NATO standard equipment, are more complex and therefore more expensive, the source said.

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