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France postpones decision on delivery of Mistral carriers

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[November 25, 2014]  PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande delayed indefinitely on Tuesday his decision on whether to deliver the first of two Mistral helicopter carriers ordered by Russia but whose status is in limbo as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.

"The President of the Republic considers that the situation in the east of Ukraine still does not permit the delivery of the first BPC (helicopter carrying and command vessel)," said a statement from Hollande's office.

"He has therefore decided that it is appropriate to suspend, until further notice, examination of the request for the necessary authorization to export the first BCP to the Russian Federation."

France has been under pressure for months from its Western allies to scrap the 1.2 billion euro ($1.58 billion) contract.

Russia's Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov told RIA news agency on Tuesday that Russia would not pursue claims against France over non-delivery, but expected the contract to be fulfilled.

(Reporting by Andrew Callus and Elizabeth Pineau; Editing by Alexandria Sage)

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