Hollande offers conditions for warship delivery to Russia
Thursday, September 04, 2014 - 01:42
French President Francois Hollande says warship will be delivered to Russia once a ceasefire and a political settlement are in place in Ukraine. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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French President Francois Hollande sits down with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko at the NATO summit in Wales after he moved to suspend delivery of a warship built for Russia amid the ongoing battle for control for Ukraine's east.
France has come under pressure from the US and European partners to scrap the deal, signed by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hollande denies that this pressure had forced his hand and later explains to reporters what it will take to resume delivery.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING:
"Some conditions have to be met for the warship to be delivered. What are the conditions? A ceasefire and a political settlement. Today, those conditions are not met. How could I authorize the delivery of a ship which could tomorrow be used as a ship of war when there is the crisis in Ukraine? But as soon as -- and it could happen in October or November -- as soon as the conditions are met, the ships can be delivered."
For the union workers building the helicopter carriers -- the decision is a blow.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) REPRESENTATIVE OF FO UNION AT CONSTRUCTION FIRM STX, JEAN-MARC PEREZ, SAYING:
"We are outraged because if this decision stops the manufacture of the ships, especially the second one which is currently under construction -- the first one is being finished -- it would have a significant impact on the jobs of those working on the ships."
Poroshenko confirmed he would order a ceasefire on Friday if a proposed peace plan was signed in Minsk as expected.
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