US Congress uneasy over French warship sale to Russia

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France's plans to sell a powerful warship to Russia, which has unsettled Georgia and other neighbors, has drawn fire in the US Congress where some warned against NATO arms sales to Moscow.

Washington - France's plans to sell a powerful warship to Russia, which has unsettled Georgia and other neighbors, has drawn fire in the US Congress where some warned against NATO arms sales to Moscow.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has introduced a non-binding resolution urging President Barack Obama to press Paris to cancel the transaction.

"France and other member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union should decline to sell major weapons systems or offensive military equipment to the Russian Federation," the measure says.

Ros-Lehtinen's resolution underlines that the sale, estimated at USD 600-750 million, would be the first time a NATO nation has provided "such advanced technology to Russia" and will likely upset Moscow's neighbors.

The Mistral-class warship is a 21,000-tonne, 200-meter (650-foot) amphibious assault ship that can carry heavy-lift helicopters, landing craft, tanks and up to 900 commandos. It is the second largest vessel in the French fleet.

In late November, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said it should be sold to Moscow "with precautions" and that Paris should stand with Georgia, which fought a war with Russia in 2008.

AFP/Expatica

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