Britain, France sign defense treaties

09:42, November 03, 2010      

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British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy signed treaties on Tuesday to deepen bilateral military cooperation.

"Today we open a new chapter in a long history of cooperation on defense and security between Britain and France," Cameron told a joint press conference.

He said it would make both countries' citizens safer and would save money.

The two leaders agreed on the coordination of aircraft carriers, the creation of a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force training British and French troops to be deployed on operations together and the development of a new nuclear testing facility at Aldermaston in Britain and its French equivalent at Valduc.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "This summit marks a deepening of the UK-France bilateral relationship. Ours is now a strategic partnership tackling together the biggest challenges facing our two countries."

"It is about defending our national interest. It is about practical, hard-headed cooperation between two sovereign countries," Cameron said.

The prime minister said it was not about a European army or about sharing nuclear weapons, adding that one treaty would commit the two countries' forces to working "more closely than ever before" and the other would increase cooperation on "nuclear safety."

Sarkozy hailed the deal as "historic" and "unprecedented," saying "France and Britain's clocks strike at the same hour at the same time ... We intend to work hand in glove."

The summit came as both countries try to cut the cost of their armed forces. Cameron announced two weeks ago that Britain's defense budget will be slashed by 8 percent over the next four years as the government tackles the deficit.

Source: Xinhua


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