Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia
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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius responded with a strong dose of sarcasm to British criticism of France’s planned sale of two warships to Russia, saying the UK should put its own house in order before criticising others.
'Contracts should be honoured'
France faced renewed criticism from some European allies in Brussels after President François Hollande said that the planned delivery of the warships would go ahead, hampering efforts to forge a united front against Russia.
France has rebuffed calls to halt the sale, saying that cancelling the deal would do more damage to Paris than Moscow, again illustrating the limitations of EU economic sanctions meant to punish Russia.
Paris has repeatedly said that other countries must share the burden in imposing a third round of sanctions on Russia and that any measures should include the energy and financial sectors as well as defence.
Hollande said on Monday that Paris would go ahead with delivery of the first carrier by the end of this year but was ready to review the second delivery, due by 2016.
“It’s a contract that was signed in 2011. There is an international rule that is worth the same nationally. Contracts that are signed and paid should be honoured,” Fabius said.
“For the second boat, which isn’t totally built, that will depend on the Russians’ attitude,” he said.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)
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