France and Russia have launched "exclusive negotiations" on the sale of four French warships to Moscow, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday after talks with his Russian counterpart.
"We are in exclusive negotiations for four BPC Mistral", Sarkozy said, standing beside President Dmitry Medvedev, referring to a class of high-tech amphibious assault ship built by France and sought by Moscow.
"This is a symbol of trust between our countries", Medvedev said. "I hope that these negotiations will be crowned by success".
Sarkozy said the first of the four ships would be built at a French naval shipyard in St Nazaire on the mouth of the Loire, and that talks were continuing over where to produce the remaining three.
The prospect of French arms sales to Russia has raised concern among some of Russia's neighbors and the United States.