Sarkozy and Medvedev “reached a definitive agreement” on Mistral purchase

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, May 26, 2011.

From Reuters:  Russia and France have reached a long-awaited agreement on a Russian purchase of four Mistral class helicopter carriers made by a French-led consortium, the two countries’ presidents said on Thursday.

The deal, Moscow’s first major foreign arms purchase since the fall of the Soviet Union, is driven by its need to modernise its ageing armed forces, but it has been criticised by some of France’s NATO allies.

The agreement will see two of the amphibious assault ships built in a French shipyard and the other two in Russia.

"We have reached a definitive agreement on the two carriers built in France and the two carriers built in Russia," French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a news conference with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev during the G8 summit in the northern French seaside town of Deauville.

He said the contract would be signed in a fortnight, and added that the deal was evidence the Cold War was far in the past and Russia should be considered as a friend.  (photo: AP)

Image: ap%205%2026%2011%20Dmitry%20Medvedev%20Nicolas%20Sarkozy.jpg