Britain, France sign military cooperation treaties

10:08, November 03, 2010      

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British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy signed two military cooperation treaties at Lancaster House in central London on Tuesday, heralding a new, closer and cheaper era of military cooperation between the two nations.

In the second treaty, nuclear weapons research and nuclear warhead testing facilities will be pooled, with a new facility being built in France, surmounting the closely-guarded manner in which both nations have protected their nuclear secrets from each other.

President Sarkozy said in a press conference after the treaty signing that this cooperation showed a "level of confidence between our two nations unequalled in history".

For both of the European nations, which between them account for 50 percent of European military equipment spending and 65 percent of military research, the goal is to reduce military costs at a time of acute cost-cutting in their government budgets.

For both nations, one of the aims of the treaty is to bolster their global military capabilities in a post-financial crisis period when they can no longer afford to maintain independent forces of a significant size across all three armed forces which can be deployed anywhere in the world.

Both nations are also permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and have an interest in maintaining their status in the top rank of military nations over the coming decades, and the treaty has a lifespan of 50 years.

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