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Military

UK signs defence cooperation deal with the US

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, June 21, IRNA
UK-US Defence Deal
Outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair signed a treaty with US President George W. Bush Thursday that ends the requirement to grant an individual export license for every piece of American defence equipment and technology.

Announcing the deal, the Defence Ministry said the new treaty dramatically cuts the red tape around the exchange of goods, services and information in defence. It will make for easier, faster and more in-depth cooperation between both countries, it also said.

"This is a real breakthrough. This very positive development in UK and US cooperation builds on the progress we made on the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) programme at the end of last year," said Minister for Defence Equipment Lord Drayson.

"In the current security environment, with our forces operating together around the world, it is vital that we do all we can to work together on interoperability and on technology research and innovation," Drayson said.

The treaty, which also helps faster sharing of classified information, was said to achieve a long-standing goal of both governments to remove restrictions on defence trade. It comes less than a week before Blair stands down from power.

The Defence Ministry said there were direct benefits for current military operations, by speeding up the export of off-the-shelf equipment purchased by the UK as Urgent Operational Requirements.

"The defence industries in both countries will be able to take advantage of their technical experience to develop and field the most effective military capabilities possible," it said.

The agreement was said to also simplify current technology sharing arrangements and at the same time strengthens the controls surrounding that technology.

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