April 24, 2015 / 9:15 PM / 5 years ago

No decision yet on Mistral, France's Hollande says

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his French counterpart Francois Hollande during a meeting in Yerevan, Armenia, April 24, 2015. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

YEREVAN/PARIS (Reuters) - No decision has yet been taken on the future of France’s suspended contract to deliver Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia, French President Francois Hollande said on Friday after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“As far as the Mistral is concerned I have set the terms. Either the Mistral is delivered, which is not our decision as of today, or a repayment will be made in the form we have discussed,” Hollande said at a news conference after the meeting in Yerevan, Armenia.

Separately, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron told Reuters in Paris the French government would make sure the companies and workers involved were not affected.

“Technically we are ready so that this decision, if it is taken, will not damage the companies and workers involved,” he said.

Earlier on Friday a Russian source close to the talks said Russia and France were close to an agreement for Paris to cancel the contract and reimburse Moscow.

Late on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the two leaders had talked about the Mistral.

“In this case, there are no problems,” Peskov told journalists on a conference call, without elaborating.

The DCNS unit of Thales, 26 percent owned by the French state and 25 percent by Dassault Aviation, is a prime contractor on the Mistral.

Reporting by Marine Pennetier and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Additional reporting by Lidia Kelly in Moscow; Writing by Andrew Callus; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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