Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • EU leaders meet in Brussels to seek a response to Russia

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' against IS militants in Syria

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Europe

Britain and France sign defence co-operation treaties

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-11-02

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (right) and British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) signed new military defence agreements Tuesday, including deals on creating a joint military force and on sharing aircraft carriers and nuclear test facilities.

AFP - Britain and France vowed to work hand-in-glove Tuesday as their leaders ushered in an unprecedented era of defence cooperation by agreeing to create a joint force and share nuclear test facilities.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy inked two treaties which they say will allow both nations to remain global players while cutting defence budgets following the financial crisis.

The two neighbours -- historic rivals for centuries who fell out spectacularly over the 2003 Iraq invasion -- insisted the pact will not deprive their militaries of the ability to act independently.

"Today we open a new chapter in a long history of cooperation on defence and security between Britain and France," Cameron told a joint press conference following the signing ceremony, backed by the French and British flags.

Sarkozy, speaking through an official translator, said the deal was "historic" and "unprecedented".

"France and Britain's clocks strike at the same hour at the same time," he told a press conference. "We intend to work hand in glove."

The deal includes a joint rapid reaction force of up to 5,000 troops deployable from next year; plans to share nuclear testing equipment by 2015; and the use of aircraft carriers from about 2020.

The pact puts an end to centuries of rivalry from the invasion of England by the French-speaking Normans in 1066 through to 14th and 15th century battles for control of France and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Cameron said the two countries were "natural partners" but added: "Britain and France are and will always remain sovereign nations able to deploy our armed forces independently."

He also said alleged Al-Qaeda parcel bombs sent from Yemen and discovered on US-bound flights last week "have reminded us that our societies and our security have never been more connected."

The first treaty covers a wide agreement on defence, from the creation of a new combined joint expeditionary force to sharing the use of aircraft carriers, the maintenance of transport planes and some joint procurement.

The new force will begin training next year and would be deployed on an ad hoc basis under a single commander, likely speaking English.

The two countries will also share the use of their aircraft carriers from 2020. With each country operating only one carrier, they will be able to use the other nation's vessel when theirs is under maintenance.

Cooperation is also planned on the new A400M transport aircraft they are both buying, with plans under way to share maintenance and training.

The second treaty will cover plans to share technology in the testing of nuclear weapons, although officials stressed this would not see the two countries share nuclear secrets, nor the codes to their nuclear submarines.

Under the nuclear deal, Paris and London will test the safety of their nuclear arsenals in a joint facility in France, according to the French presidency.

A nuclear simulation centre will be built at Valduc, eastern France, which will work with a French-British research site in Aldermaston, southern England. Several dozen French and British experts will work on the project.

The British and French already work alongside each other in NATO operations and 12 years ago British premier Tony Blair and French president Jacques Chirac hailed their intention to cooperate on defence issues.

However, little came of it and the pair disagreed over the war in Iraq, which emphasised Britain's focus at that point on US, rather than EU, relations.
 

Date created : 2010-11-01

  • CHAD

    President slams French military presence amid independence celebrations

    Read more

COMMENT(S)