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Egypt to buy 2 warships originally built for Russia

French President François Hollande and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have reached an agreement on the purchase by Egypt of two helicopter carriers that were initially produced for Russia.

The leaders confirmed the agreement during a telephone conversation on Wednesday, according to a brief statement from France's presidential palace.

"The President of the Republic spoke with President Sissi. They agreed on the principle and terms for the acquisition by Egypt of the two projection and command ships of Mistral class," the statement said.

The French Navy already operates three Mistral-class warships and has no use for additional vessels. The two vessels being sold were built specifically for the Russian Navy under an agreement announced in 2010, but Russia's subsequent annexation of Crimea and its involvement in the wider Ukrainian conflict prompted Hollande to postpone delivery.

In August, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian acknowledged that France would reimburse Russia "less than" 1.2 billion euros ($1.31 billion) for canceling the contract. In exchange for the reimbursement, France was given full freedom to do whatever it wants with the vessels, which are known to contain some Russian technology.

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