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Defence Secretary discusses common goals with French counterpart

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Defence Secretary has discussed how the UK and France can co-operate across a range of issues during a visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian.

On Mr Le Drian’s first political visit since the Paris terrorist attacks the ministers discussed the longstanding and close defence relationship between the UK and France, shared actions from the NATO Summit in Wales, the situation in Ukraine and how the two countries could work together to combat international terrorism.

Following the recent announcement that the UK and France will act as Framework Nations of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Taskforce, the two Defence Ministers acknowledged at Carlton Gardens today that there was a need for the international community to stand firm against Russian aggression.

Both Ministers welcomed ceasefire agreements made in peace talks overnight in Minsk aiming to end the conflict in Ukraine, stating that while details are at an early stage all parties want to see an end to the conflict on the ground in Ukraine.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

The UK and France are natural partners for defence co-operation. This is our sixth meeting in six months. Whether contributing to the international response to the ISIL threat or working together within NATO to counter Russian aggression, Britain and France enjoy a successful and enduring defence relationship.

It is vital that like-minded countries such as ours work together to counter the varied common security challenges that we face. Meeting with Jean-Yves Le Drian has enabled us to affirm our mutual commitment to strengthen and deepen our defence relationship.

The UK and France have a longstanding commitment to bilateral defence and security, with Mr Fallon and M. Le Drian working closely together within NATO, EU and meeting regularly. At present HMS Kent is escorting the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Gulf and both countries remain on track to deliver a UK-France Combined Expeditionary Force with the first exercise to test this initiative taking place this year.