Several countries appear to be willing to buy the two Mistral helicopter carriers that France had initially intended to sell to Russia. After the canceled deal, there’s no shortage of other potential recipients.
Some 10 countries voiced their interest in buying two French Mistral warships whose planned sale to Russia had been canceled due to Moscow’s perceived role in the Ukraine conflict.
Reuters reported on Friday that French President Francois Hollande and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi discussed Egypt’s possible acquisition of the two helicopter carriers on the sidelines of an inauguration ceremony for an expansion of the Suez Canal.
Citing diplomatic sources, the news agency said Egypt might also be interested in buying a second Fremm frigate built by DCNS, 64 percent of which is owned by the French state and 35 percent of which is owned by defense group Thales.
Long list of potential buyers
Hollande said on Thursday that his country would have no difficulty in finding a buyer for the two Mistral carriers, for which it would have to pay under 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to Russia in compensation for the canceled contract.
France itself is not interested in keeping the warships as it already operates three of the Mistral ships.
Apart from Egypt, about 10 other nations were reported to be keen on buying the two carriers in question, including Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Singapore and Canada, which could be the most suitable candidate as the ships were designed for cold waters.
hg/cjc (Reuters, FENA)