NEWPORT Wales (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that a ceasefire and a political settlement in Ukraine were conditions for France to deliver a warship it has built for Russia.
Hollande told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO summit that the contract to supply two Mistral-class helicopter carriers was neither canceled nor suspended, but the conditions for delivering the first ship - due in October - were not ripe.
“What are the conditions? A ceasefire and a political settlement,” he said. “Today these conditions are not in place.”
If there were further complications, delivery would be delayed but the contract would not be suspended, he added.
France has come under strong public pressure from the United States and European partners to scrap the deal, signed under former President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2011. Hollande denied that this pressure had forced his hand.
Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Writing by Paul Taylor