Cameron offers use of Cyprus air base for French strikes on Syria

Published November 23rd, 2015 - 12:30 GMT

British Prime Minister David Cameron has been to Paris for breakfast and talks with French President Francois Hollande.

Cameron visited the Bataclan in the French capital, scene of the worst loss of life during the Paris attacks, where he laid a rose with Hollande.

Then the two men went to the Elysée palace for discussions, at France’s request, on how to put together a coalition to fight ISIL in Syria.

“We are going to intensify our airstrikes, and choose targets that inflict the maximum possible damage on this terrorist army, and our aircraft carrier that has just arrived in the combat zone has a clear mandate to hit ISIL hard,” said Hollande.

Cameron came with immediate offers of help.

“I firmly support the action President Hollande has taken to strike ISIL in Syria and it’s my firm conviction that Britain should do so too. Of course there will be a decision for parliament to make. Today I offered France the use of RAF Akrotiri for French aircraft engaged in anti-ISIL operations and additional assistance with air-to-air refueling,” he said.

He added that much better information-sharing within the EU was essential, and commented that it was “ridiculous” that information about air passenger manifests, for example, was much easier to obtain from non-EU members.

The Cameron meeting was the first in a packed diplomatic week for Hollande. On Tuesday he flies to Washington to meet President Barack Obama, and then he meets with Angela Merkel in Berlin and Vladimir Putin in Moscow in the following days as he tries to build an international anti-ISIL coalition.

By Robert Hackwill

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