France and UK hold talks on defence strategy and cooperation
French Defense Minister Florence Parly had a meeting on Wednesday 21 April 2021 with the British Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace. They took this opportunity to review the strategic environment and shared their assessments of the security situations in the Sahel, the Mediterranean, the Gulf, the Levant, Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific region.
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They also welcomed the recent progress made in bilateral operational cooperation, particularly the full operational capability of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), which is now a tool available to the French and British armed forces to conduct operations jointly at very short notice, throughout the spectrum of capabilities and against all kinds of threats. The meeting also provided an opportunity to reiterate the shared desire to continue the armed forces’ interoperability effort in traditional and emerging fields of combat.
In the arms field, Florence Parly and Ben Wallace welcomed the significant headway made on the mine-warfare programme (Maritime Mines Counter Measures, MMCM) and reiterated their desire to carry through the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) project, whose assessment phase is due to be launched in 2021.
Following the publication of the French and British strategic findings, the Minister and Defence Secretary welcomed France and the UK’s very close convergence in their appreciation of the strategic environment, as well as their two countries’ shared interests in the defence sector. On this basis, they agreed to contribute actively to the strategic reflection effort underway in NATO.
Finally, Florence Parly and Ben Wallace shared their thoughts on the focus areas to encourage in the coming years, reiterating their determination to continue the momentum in terms of deepening Franco-British defence cooperation, with a view to a future bilateral summit.