U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signed on Tuesday two documents furthering military cooperation between their two countries at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a readout of the meeting.
“The United States and France have built, over two centuries, the oldest alliance between two nations on the European and American continents,” Cook said in the statement.
“Today, military cooperation between the countries is stronger than ever, and both are engaged side-by-side in the fight against terrorism, including the campaign to deliver [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] the lasting defeat it deserves,” he added.
The first document signed at the meeting, the joint statement of intent, illustrates how the United States and France have strengthened bilateral cooperation in recent years and identifies areas in which bilateral cooperation will continue to increase in years ahead, Cook said.
“The second, the military space cooperation arrangement, identifies opportunities for the two countries to work together in the space environment, establishing an overall framework to implement that joint effort over the next 10 years,” he added.
In their fourth meeting in five months, Carter and Le Drian also discussed a range of other mutual security issues, most importantly the execution of the counter-ISIL coalition military campaign plan, the press secretary said.
Carter and Le Drian last met in October during a trip by the defense secretary that included stops in France and Belgium.
Both leaders acknowledged the significant results Iraqi forces, enabled by the United States, France and the rest of the global coalition have demonstrated in expelling ISIL from Mosul as they near the isolation of the city and continue their deliberate advance, Cook said.
The two also discussed the progress local forces in Syria continue to make in the isolation of ISIL’s so-called capital Raqqah, he said, noting that ISIL finds itself under growing pressure on multiple fronts. The ministers said they look forward to updating their coalition counterparts on the next steps in the military campaign at the next counter-ISIL ministerial in London in December, the press secretary said.