France-UK defence cooperation "exceptional" - Minister [fr]


France/UK/defence – Statement by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence

London, 12 February 2015

Secretary of State, mon cher Michael, ladies and gentlemen, I have little to add to what my British colleague has just said. Our cooperation in the defence field is exceptional. It draws on the Lancaster House agreements, which the British Secretary of State talked about, and it’s existed ever since. It’s existed in the operational sphere. As you’ve recalled, we’re together today in the Levant to combat Daesh [ISIL] in the coalition that has been organized, in which you and we are stakeholders; we’re also together in Mali, because you’ve made a significant contribution, both to the action we took and also, now, to the training of the Malian army; and we were together in Libya, we were together in Afghanistan, we’re together in all theatres of combat, to protect our values and guarantee our security.

Moreover, we’ve built operational cooperation, which is continuing year on year, in particular to establish the Franco-British Combined Joint Expeditionary Force; we’re completing the process by carrying out joint staff exercises, which you talked to us about, and so we’re in a position – after that decision at the time of the treaty – to set up this joint force, which will now make our military relationship more effective.

Furthermore, we have strong relations in the industrial field; I’m thinking in particular of the work being done today for the future plane, the future unmanned plane, the future combat UAV, which we began in Brize Norton last year; we also cooperate closely in the field of missiles.

So all this manifests itself in trust and transparency in our discussions.

Today we were due to have a more wide-ranging meeting, but events at the meeting [in Minsk] prevented Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius from coming to join the group initially planned, and everyone will understand that; so we’re going to focus on defence issues; we have a lot to say to each other, in a very constructive and very cooperative spirit./.

Press briefing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesman (excerpts)

Paris, 11 February 2015

United Kingdom – Talks between M. Laurent Fabius and M. Jean-Yves Le Drian and their British counterparts (London, 12 February 2015)

THE SPOKESMAN – M. Laurent Fabius and M. Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit London on 12 February for meetings with Mr Philip Hammond and Mr Michael Fallon, their British counterparts.

After bilateral talks, the ministers will have a plenary meeting devoted to the resolution of crises, particularly in Ukraine, and the fight against terrorism, including in Africa.

This initial 2+2 meeting will also provide an opportunity to take stock of progress in our bilateral defence cooperation and our strategic dialogue on Africa since the Brize Norton summit.

Q. – What subjects will be discussed as a matter of priority at the meeting between the foreign and defence ministers in London tomorrow? Are you going to ask for the British to get more involved in coordinating the fight against Boko Haram?

THE SPOKESMAN – We’ve just made a statement to set out the meeting.

The fight against Boko Haram will of course be one of the important subjects of discussion between the ministers. (…)./.

Published on 12/02/2015

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