US defence chief meets French counterpart at Pentagon

Published : 01 Dec 2022 07:10 PM

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with his French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu at the Pentagon on Wednesday, the two sides said.

"Secretary Austin and Minister Lecornu reinforced the importance of upholding the strong bilateral cooperation our countries maintain, and signed a Joint Statement of Intent codifying our shared principles," the Pentagon said in a statement.

"The leaders also discussed support for Ukraine, the strength of the NATO Alliance, and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific," it added.

The United States has led international efforts to provide security assistance to Ukraine -- which is battling a more than nine-month-old Russian invasion -- while France has committed key equipment including air defense equipment and artillery to Kyiv.

France also confirmed that Lecornu -- who is in the United States as part of a state visit by President Emmanuel Macron -- and Austin signed a declaration on the two countries' defense relationship.

The document "deepens and clarifies the framework of our operational cooperation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific and in Africa, in order to strengthen our interoperability," it said in a statement.