July 25, 2012 / 1:09 AM / in 7 years

UK, France agree on more military cooperation

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and France signed two agreements on Tuesday for further cooperation on the use of military drones, the British Ministry of Defence said.

British Defence Minister Philip Hammond and his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, pledged closer military ties and called the countries cooperation as “natural as it is necessary.”

“We will continue to draw on each other’s strengths and respective investments to get the best possible support for our Armed Forces,” Hammond said in a statement.

The agreements came as Le Drian made his first visit to London since taking office in May, following the presidential victory of Francois Hollande.

The first agreement represented the initial phase of a collaborative “demonstration program” for a Future Combat Air System, or FCAS, unmanned air system.

The other agreement enables cooperation between the two nations on the Watchkeeper Tactical unmanned air system, which provides the British armed forces with surveillance and reconnaissance.

The neighbors already have a close defence relationship, and the latest agreements signal Hollande’s intention to maintain the defence and security cooperation treaty signed last year by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Prime Minister David Cameron.

Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Peter Cooney

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