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France and Britain dismiss talk of pooling aircraft carriers

Ulrich Mc Cowan Mc Donald

France and Britain announced Friday they are talking about sharing the cost of military aircraft programmes, but rejected reports that they plan to merge their aircraft carrier fleets.

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"In terms of actually being able to share an aircraft carrier, I would have thought that that was utterly unrealistic," British Defence Minister Liam Fox told reporters after talks with his French counterpart Herve Morin.

"But when it comes to pooling assets in other areas such as strategic or tactical lift I would have thought that that was a different case altogether," he added, referring to military transport planes and helicopters.

Earlier this week, the British press had reported that the Royal Navy and the Marine Nationale were preparing to put centuries of often bloody rivalry behind them and share the use of their most powerful vessels.

But the ministers, while admitting that their budgets were extremely tight and that they were seeking ways to share costs by pooling resources, insisted that no such drastic measure was on the table.
 

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