Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with soldiers during his visit to Calais, northern France, Tuesday. Macron traveled Tuesday to the epicenter of France’s migrant crisis, the northern port of Calais, to lay out a “humane and tough” immigration policy that involved better behavior by security forces and closer co-operation with Britain.

UK helicopters join French counterterror mission in Africa

LONDON — Britain said Wednesday that it will send three Royal Air Force helicopters to join France’s military mission against Islamic militants in Africa’s Sahel region as part of closer U.K.-French intelligence and military co-operation.

The two countries will promise to step up efforts against violent extremism during a Thursday meeting between British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Sandhurst military academy near London.

The British government says May will announce she is sending three Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and dozens of personnel to Mali to provide logistical support for thousands of French troops fighting alongside African forces in a counterterrorism mission. France has led efforts to fight al-Qaida and IS-linked jihadi groups in the vast Sahel region south of the Sahara desert.

The leaders of the five main U.K. and French spy agencies are also meeting for the first time Thursday, as the two countries seek to increase intelligence-sharing. France and Britain have both faced a string of violent attacks by extremists inspired or directed by the Islamic State group.

May said U.K.-French summit “will underline that we remain committed to defending our people and upholding our values as liberal democracies in the face of any threat, whether at home or abroad.”

One topic not high on the agenda is Brexit. Britain wants the meeting to underscore how the close relationship between the two neighbours won’t suffer when Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

In the crisply martial surroundings of Sandhurst, where army officers have been trained since the days of the British Empire, senior ministers from the two countries will sign agreements on everything from space exploration to tackling online extremism.

In a boost to Macron, Britain is throwing its backing behind the European Intervention Initiative, a multinational European military force that the French president has proposed. He also wants a common European defence budget and security doctrine.

The plan is in its early stages, but British officials don’t see it as an “EU army,” an idea on which the U.K. has long been cool.

One point of tension between the countries is a 2003 deal that placed British border controls in Calais, on the French side of the English Channel. The town has become a magnet for migrants hoping to reach Britain, and the accord puts the burden of blocking their entry to the U.K. on France.

Macron wants Britain to take a bigger share of the burden by taking in more child migrants from Calais and paying more into development projects.

Britain hasn’t said whether it will agree. But May’s spokesman, James Slack, said the existing agreement had been “very beneficial to the U.K.”

“If there were a request for further help in terms of security, we would look at (it),” he said.

Macron, on his first visit to Britain since winning the presidency in May 2017, brought a gift: an agreement for France to loan Britain the Bayeux Tapestry, an 11th-century panorama depicting the Norman conquest of England.

The medieval masterpiece depicts a key moment in British history — one with particular resonance as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Alberta election set for April 16

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Camper found in good health at Pinto Lake

Rocky Mountain House Search and Rescue respond

Red Deer city council to consider starting a bike registry

Coun. Buck Buchanan suggested it would help police return recovered stolen property

Rimbey-area landowner believes earthquake damaged his electricity supply

Underground line was damaged at same time quake hit, says landowner

Reliance on equalization not a factor in Quebec’s low productivity rate: author

MONTREAL — Despite low unemployment and a strong economy, Quebec continues to… Continue reading

WATCH: Celebrating francophone Canadians at the 10th annual Red Deer Winter Carnival

The event was hosted by the Red Deer region of the French-Canadian Association of Alberta Saturday

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Florida Georgia Line, Glorious Sons headline concert series at Canadian Open

HAMILTON — Florida Georgia Line and the Glorious Sons will headline a… Continue reading

Family: Time to shed winter clothes and inhibitions

It has been a long, crazy cold winter. But, if the thermometer… Continue reading

Chelsea Carey rink registers two wins at world women’s curling event

SILKEBORG, Denmark — Canada’s Chelsea Carey rebounded nicely Sunday at the world… Continue reading

Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title, winning BNP Paribas Open

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title.… Continue reading

‘Captain Marvel’ soars even higher with stellar 2nd weekend

LOS ANGELES — “Captain Marvel” has continued to dominate the global box… Continue reading

Most Read