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FM: Tbilisi Worried over Possible Russia-French Mistral Deal
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Nov.'09 / 18:29

Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, said Georgia was “tremendously worried” about possible purchase of French helicopter carrier amphibious assault warships, Mistral, by Russia.

“The only destination of this kind of ship is the Black Sea,” The Associated Press reported quoting Vashadze as saying in his address to an audience at French International Relations Institute (IFRI) in Paris.
 
“The consequences might be devastating ... We are tremendously worried," he said, adding that Georgia “simply would like to understand why Russia would need such an assault vessel.”

Meanwhile in Tbilisi, the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority said it was “extremely concerned” that NATO-member country, France, might sell warships to Russia, “especially against the background of Russia’s failure to follow its commitment undertaken under the ceasefire accords signed with mediation of the French President.”

“We demand from the Georgian authorities to take affective diplomatic steps for prevention of this deal and call on France to drop plans on selling Mistral class warships to the Russian Federation,” CDM said in a statement on November 26.

Russia’s navy chief, Vladimir Vysotsky, has said in September that a ship like Mistral would have allowed the Russian navy to carry out more efficient operation in the Black Sea during last year’s August war with Georgia. He also said such warship would take just 40 minutes to do the task that the Russian Black Sea Fleet ships did in 26 hours.

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