Britain and France sign Military Treaty
Times sure are a changing. As who could have ever imagined that the British & the French would sign a treaty to have: “joint use of aircraft carries, 10,000-strong joint expeditionary force and unprecedented new levels of co-operation over nuclear missiles.” Lord Nelson who bravely defeated the French during the Battle of Trafalgar in the Napoleonic Wars must be rolling over in his grave!!!
Britain and France sign landmark 50-year defence deal
Patrick Wintour, political editor, Guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 2 November 2010
Britain and France today signed a landmark 50-year treaty on defence and security that envisages the joint use of aircraft carriers, a 10,000-strong joint expeditionary force and unprecedented new levels of co-operation over nuclear missiles.
The deal, signed in London by David Cameron and the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has in part been forced on the two countries as they struggle with tightening defence budgets, but also reflects a level of mutual trust not seen for decades.
At a joint press conference at Lancaster House, Cameron repeatedly stressed that the agreement strengthened British sovereignty as he said it opened a new chapter in Anglo-French relations.
Seeking to defend himself from a Eurosceptic assault, with one Tory MP describing the French as “duplicitous”, Cameron stressed the treaties would not weaken British sovereignty and did not amount to a sharing of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
He said: “Britain and France will be sovereign nations able to deploy our forces independently and in our national interest when we choose to do so.
“The two largest defence budgets in Europe are recognising that if we come together and work together we increase not just our joint capacity, but crucially we increase our own individual sovereign capacity so that we can do more things alone as well as together.”
Sarkozy hailed the agreement in even more enthusiastic terms: “This is a decision that is unprecedented and it shows a level of co-operation and confidence between our two nations that is unique in history.”
Cameron stressed that Britain would retain he ability to fight alone, but pointed out that British troops had in practice only operated independently twice in the past 30 years – in Sierra Leone and in the Falklands. The bulk of UK military activity was undertaken in co-operation with allies, and he said anything that strengthened overall UK military capacity would be welcomed by Brtain’s international partners, including the US.
He described the agreement as a “practical, hard-headed agreement between two sovereign countries”. The prime minister said the agreement would reduce development costs, eliminate duplication and align research programmes.
Britain and France were natural partners as the third and fourth largest forces in the world, he said, calling France a logical sensible and practical partner. “It is the start of something new,” Cameron said, adding: “The treaty is based on pragmatism, not just sentiment.”