Britain offers France emergency use of airbase

LONDON,  Britain has offered France the use of a Royal Air Force base in Cyprus as an emergency diversion airfield for French fighters combating Islamic State terrorists, also identified as Daesh and by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.

French President Francois Hollande (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 23, 2015. The two leaders discussed security co-operation and intelligence sharing in light of the recent terrorist attack in the city. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo
French President Francois Hollande (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 23, 2015. The two leaders discussed security co-operation and intelligence sharing in light of the recent terrorist attack in the city. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom said the offer was made by Prime Minister David Cameron to French Prime Minister Francois Hollande as an act of solidarity following the attack on Paris that killed more than 120 people.

“This offer is another demonstration of our solidarity with our French allies,” said Defense Secretary Michael Fallon. “It is right that we do all we can to help them hit ISIL harder. Meanwhile, we will continue to strike this vile organization in Iraq and build the case for extending those strikes to Syria.”

The British base, RAF Akrotiri, would be available for emergency landings by fighters from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle but would not be used by French aircraft for launching airstrikes.

The Ministry of Defense said the government of Cyprus supports the move.

Other assistance offered to France by Britain for the aerial campaign includes air-to-air refueling.

By Richard Tomkins

UPI