The UK on Friday said it would pay the sum of $576 million over the next three years as part of a deal with France to combat illegal immigration across the English Channel.
The deal was announced during a joint summit between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday.
The said money will finance a new detention center for migrants in France and the deployment of 500 French security and support agents “to enable the fastest detection of attempted crossings” by small boats, a joint statement from the two countries said.
Friday’s meeting saw the two leaders stress their countries’ deep ties, following several years of tensions over post-Brexit negotiations, fishing rights, a submarine deal with Australia and immigration.
Prime Minister Sunak, who faces criticism from human rights group for his moves to block cross-channel immigration with a new law criticized as racist, illegal and unworkable, said the UK “will always comply with our international treaty obligations.”
The UK has seen an increase in the number of illegal migrants who pay human trafficking gangs to smuggle them into Britain in small, non-seaworthy boats as many have sunk, and people have died.
The 19-page joint statement from the Elysee Palace focused on the potential for greater defense cooperation between the two nuclear powers, from the deployment of fighter jets on each other’s aircraft carriers, to the joint production of future cruise missiles.
Writing by Tersoo Nicholas