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Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced today that the UK will continue to provide C-17 support to French counter-terrorist operations in Africa for at least the next six months.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said today at the AirPower 2017 conference:

“We’re not just strengthening bi-lateral ties with the US and Norway, but with our close French partners. Six years ago, when the Lancaster House treaties promised ever closer cooperation some were sceptical as to what that might mean. Yet today our aircrews are flying in each others’ aircraft against the Daesh, our defence companies are producing world-leading missiles, and we are supporting French operations, by providing air transport to assist French counter-terrorism operations in Africa.

This agreement made at Amiens last year expires at the end of this month. But the need does not. So, as we look forward to the next UK-French Summit this autumn, I have agreed to continue providing this air transport support for at least the next six months.”

Working together with the UK’s firm ally of France in tackling extremism, the RAF has been providing C-17 air transport flights supporting the 3,500 French personnel deployed as part of the French pan-Sahel counter-terrorism initiative, Operation Barkhane.

According to a statement from the MoD:

“France is one the UK’s most important European Ally on defence and security matters and both nations aim to uphold the security of Europe through sharing capabilities in the most efficient way.”

In March 2016, during the UK-France Summit in Paris, the British government announced that it would consider providing support to Operation Barkhane. British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon then announced that the UK would provide monthly strategic airlift support to French forces in Africa.

The operation is “to become the French pillar of counterterrorism in the Sahel region.”

According to French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the main objective of Operation Barkhane is counter-terrorism:

“The aim is to prevent what I call the highway of all forms of traffics to become a place of permanent passage, where jihadist groups between Libya and the Atlantic Ocean can rebuild themselves, which would lead to serious consequences for our security.”

French President, François Hollande, has said the Barkhane force will allow for a “rapid and efficient intervention in the event of a crisis” in the region. The operation will target Islamist extremists in Mali, Chad and Niger and will have a mandate to operate across borders.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Most of the EU freeloads off us and the Americans for their defence. And yet when we put ‘Security’ in as one of our concerns over Brexit they got all shitty and cried ‘foul’. While they undermine us in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and play games with the Leader of the Opposition. Who still thinks he won the election.

    I would be very wary of the French. They dropped us in it over their carrier (a QE version) and jumped when they had all the test data from Typhoon to build the Rafale. I admire how they look after their own interests but we should just ‘be very very careful’.

    And yes tell Mr Barnier we are sending him a big bill for our freight services …

    • Oh Dear Chris, Facts doesn’t preclude to you that the Rafale design was “entirely” created by the French Dassault Compagny and nothing of influence from the Typhoon model. Maybe we see a “Zest” of envy/Jealousy from your part has to the “Facts” again that the Rafale Jet won 95% of all joint Areal Dual engagement practice between these two formidable Fighter Jets (Rafale-Typhoon)

      Go ask the RAF why their best Pilots trained on the French aircraft Carrier Flying the Rafale instead of the F-35 (Typhoon don’t even come in Carrier version)…they mention (behind closed doors) that they wish they could acquired the Rafale 4+ Generation instead of the F-35 for the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft Carrier (Politics prevails here AGAIN) who’s cheaper to purchase AND maintain and way Superior to the Typhoon in all aspect of Multi-role Fighter Jet. Please Chris, Don’t barf your mouth when Facts deluded your B.S. talk.

      • R.S. if it was “behind closed doors” how is it that you are privy to this information? Also, during the fighter selection competitions for both the Indian and Singapore Airforces, Rafale was comprehensively beaten in air-to-air combat by the Typhoon. Please post proof that what i say is not true if you disagree. I can see why you might be angry at Chris’ fairly polarizing remarks, but don’t let that make you say things that aren’t true.

  2. I would send Mr Barnier a bill for £500-600 billion for uk’s defence expenditure protecting the EU over the last 60+ years.
    EU needs to be very carefully. They can just whistle for anything over our already agreed and committed EU expenditure, for programmes we signed upto before BREXIT vote= £17 billion NOT £56 billion and not £85 billion or more.
    Simple facts here, if EU want to play rough and just want us to bail out the massive steaming pile of poo they are in with regards expenditure, they have another thing coming.
    If they are not there for us and friendly to us, we will not be there for them.
    yes they can “whistle for any money” well done Borris, about time someone stood upto the unelected EU.

    • Mr. Bell, England was wise and Strong in WW2 in helping France to prevail the Nazi onslaught.
      France is to England what North Korea is to China…remember this please…A very Strong and Capable Buffer State that will unite with England (and the other Strong E.U. Nations) to Repulse any outside foreign aggression either from Russia, ISIS, Zombies AND most Dangerously China (who by the way is behaving just like the Nazi of the 1930ths)!
      Never mind all your Idiocies about you nasty french, me better than you British shit….
      BEWARE OF THE YELLOW SCOURGES COMING.

  3. The anti-EU comments are amusing but miss the point. As the contributors well know. The Brexit negotiations and the UK-France arrangements on defence logistics are different items
    on the bill. When it comes to the Brexit talks, the EU holds the cards and the UK has a weak hand. This was explained pretty well at the time of the referendum but did not convince most voters in the UK. So be it. Those who voted out will now see the consequences of their vote come to pass. As will the rest of us. Hopefully we will be able to come to some kind of sensible deal.

    As for the news item here – Anglo-French defence collaboration. Bring it on, it makes a great deal of sense. We will be needing to do more of this in the future in Europe.

    • I agree. It’s also not as if it is of no benefit to the UK to fight terrorism in Africa to make sure it doesn’t become some sort of relatively safe haven where UK-based wannabe terrorists can go to training camps and come back to the UK to at best further dilute the resources of MI5/GCHQ/police in monitoring subjects of interest and at worst perpetrate an attack.

    • Tim – I did smile at the usual Remainer comment that prefers to support the EU rather than the UK. But that’s OK we get it. In trade alone how can the EU have any strong hand when it has a £100 Bn a year trade surplus with the UK. And that surplus is basically with 6 EU countries biggest of which is Germany. 800,000 cars is one BIG Ace in our hand. We borrow foreign currency (Euros) to pay for their exports to us. As a country we would actually wipe out our Deficit and have £50 Bn a year left over if we just stopped THAT. Not all trade but getting some balance back in there. Plus we pay some £13 Bn a year for the privilege.

      If they want to play hardball we go WTO and the average 3.5% duties and inherit a £3.5 Bn a year bonus. Given we pay 10% EU External Tariff on all non-EU imports that will go when we leave as well. I just bought some items (via eBay) from Tennessee. I had to pay 10% duty plus 20% VAT on the price plus duty. America and everywhere else will look a lot cheaper in March 2019. Having said that our biggest trading partner is the USA and we run a surplus with them

      Militarily every EU country has been freeloading off the UK and to a greater extent the USA since WWII with NATO taking care of business. The EU wants an Army as the latest bit of the United States of Europe project but when put to the test in the Balkans it fell apart. No doubt The Belgian Walloons wanted some reassurance on the bean crop….. And it was us and the Yanks who rode in to sort the mess out.

      I am old enough to have voted for Heath and then voted to remain in the EEC. I was never asked about this Ponzi Scheme called the EU until 22 years later. But when I was …. OUT!

  4. Chris, you are utterly right. Clarity of thought and argument. Well done.
    just seen the leaked memo from the French central bank. No surprise there, whilst we are militarily helping them they are plotting to destroy British trade, the financial sector and force tens of thousands of jobs to be lost.
    not exactly the actions of our friends and allies.
    I think once we have got passed march 2019 the economy will take off very fast with trade deals apkenty from the rest of the world. We can give or take a deal with the EU. They definetly do NOT hold the upper hand in negotiations. We can walk away with no deal if needed and take the considerable pain. They will loose the UK as a friend and will sorely miss the tens of billions per year they gained in net contributions to EU funds. Never forget we have a current trade deficit of £100 billion per year with the EU. Putting WTO tariffs onto that will equate to a few billion more in revenue for HMG. It will be EU industry and trade that will suffer more with a no deal scenario. As Churchill said we will always look to the sea and the wider world for our prosperity rather than small, land locked Europe.
    we were one of only 3 countries to contribute more to the EU then we gained.
    As for a BREXIT bill it might be £10-17 billion in committed expenditure but they can sing for anymore. Also if we pay any bill it will only be for a free trade deal. No trade deal= no payment to the corrupt, spoilt and ungrateful EU. They are not our allies or friends really. The sooner the UK as a whole wakes upto this fact the better.
    historically the nations we can rely on as allies are Canada, India, Australia and New Zealand.

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