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France makes independent decisions without orders from outside, French prime minister says

France makes independent decisions and considers any outside instructions to be inappropriate, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday commenting a situation linked to the delivery of a Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia.

The first of the two Mistral-class warships, the Vladivostok, which is being built at the French shipyards in Saint-Nazaire for the Russian Navy was supposed to have been handed over to Russia on Friday, November 14. The ceremony, however, has been cancelled at the request from Paris. French President Francois Hollande has said that full observation of the ceasefire regime in eastern Ukraine is the key condition for the Mistral's delivery to Russia.

"I have already had an opportunity to say that at this stage conditions for delivery of the Mistral warship have not been created," the French prime minister said as quoted by Agence France-Presse.

A delay in the hand-over of the first Mistral helicopter carrier does not mean that France has cancelled the contract with Russia.

"France respects its commitments. France, however, is a country, which has a weight in the Commonwealth of Nations and which is demanding peace in Ukraine. It is a country, which makes all its decisions independently without being dictated how to behave from the outside," Manuel Valls said.

French President Francois Hollande is going to discuss the Mistral delivery with his foreign colleagues at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, on November 15-16.

"It is important to return on the path of peace between Ukraine and Russia," Valls said. "Unfortunately, we are still far from it. The tensions of the past days and weeks are regrettably proving that. A war is under way and people are dying. Therefore, it is necessary to do everything for the sake of peace. Everybody should take part in this process," the French prime minister stressed

Under a contract with Rosoboronexport /the Russian arms trading firm/, the first Mistral warship was to have been delivered in autumn 2014 and the second one - is to be delivered /a year later/ in autumn 2015.

[Source: Itar Tass, Paris, 14Nov14]

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