UK and France to sign defence treaty

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Indy Politics

Deputy Political Editor

Britain and France will today agree plans for unprecedented military co-operation between the two countries. David Cameron and the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, will sign a formal defence treaty involving all three services at a summit in London.

The agreement will pave the way to more joint operations involving both the deployment of ground troops and aircraft carriers. London and Paris have ruled out mixed manning of either a brigade or a vessel. But they will consider forms of parallel operations, based on co-operation in Afghanistan.

A British official said: "This is based on a hard-headed assessment of what is in Britain's national interest." Britain and France are the third and fourth largest armed powers and stronger links would boost Europe's military presence on the world stage.