(MENAFN) Despite the AUKUS pact causing tensions with France, the UK and France still consider each other to be their key strategic partner, according to Amelia Hadfield, an international relations expert. During the first bilateral summit between the two countries since 2018 on March 10, security, defense, support to Ukraine, and English Channel crossings by migrants were among the important agenda items. The summit was closely watched as relations between the two strategic partners had become strained after Brexit and the announcement of the AUKUS pact, which cost France a submarine contract worth billions of dollars.
While Channel crossings in small boats were a key issue between British Premier Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron, Hadfield noted that the reacquainting of the Lancaster House Treaties was a significant result of the summit. The two treaties on defense and security cooperation were signed in 2010 by then-Prime Minister David Cameron and then-President Nicolas Sarkozy. Hadfield added that the two sides achieved a majority of their agenda items during the summit, as they were clear on what they wanted to talk about.
Despite the fallout from the AUKUS pact, the UK and France remain committed to their strategic partnership. The AUKUS pact, which is a trilateral security treaty between Australia, the UK, and the US, made France "furious" when it was announced in 2021. However, both countries recognize the importance of maintaining their relationship, particularly in the areas of security and defense.
Hadfield also noted that the UK and France have a shared interest in supporting Ukraine and that this was a key agenda item during the summit. The two countries are committed to helping Ukraine resist Russian aggression and maintain its territorial integrity.
Overall, the UK-France summit was successful in addressing key issues of mutual concern, despite the challenges posed by recent events. The reaffirmation of the strategic partnership between the two countries demonstrates the importance of maintaining strong relationships in the face of geopolitical tensions.
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