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.

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Rob

Would be great if the French appreciated us a little more during Brexit negotiations!

David

HA!! Now you are talking!! I hope the MoD is handing them the bill every time we bus them to Africa!

chris

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… Read more »

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… Read more »

Will

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.

Mr Bell

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… Read more »

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.

Tim62

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… Read more »

Julian

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.

chris

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… Read more »

Bravo, you said it straight…:-)

Tim22…YOU SAID IT STRAIGHT…BRAVO!

Mr Bell

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… Read more »