Macron and Sunak hold talks on 'Channel migrant crossings'


Newly appointed British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has held phone talks with French President Emmanuel Macron which Downing Street claimed were centred on cracking down on migrant crossings of the Channel although the Élsée made no mention of the subject.

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The UK and France have pledged to boost co-operation to tackle migrant crossings in the English Channel, reports BBC News.

Rishi Sunak held his first call, since becoming prime minister, with President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

No 10 said the two men expressed a commitment to "deepening" their work to deter the "deadly journeys."

A statement from the Élysée Palace after the call made no specific mention of migrant boats.

There have already been promises to deepen co-operation earlier in October, after then-prime minister Liz Truss met with Mr Macron in Prague earlier this month.

The pair pledged an "ambitious package of measures" to be announced this autumn.

Downing Street has refused to give details on any future plans or when an announcement will be made.

But Mr Sunak is said to have "stressed the importance for both nations to make the Channel route completely unviable for people traffickers".

In 2021, the UK agreed to pay France £54m to boost patrols along France's northern coast.

A report, in The Times, says Mr Sunak wants to close a new deal with France, including targets for how many boats are stopped.

It has been claimed that the French "pulled the plug" on a draft agreement back in the summer, after Liz Truss said the "jury's out" on whether Emmanuel Macron was a friend or foe.

The Élysée has previously declined to comment while Ms Truss and Mr Macron appeared to patch things up after their October meeting in Prague.

The new prime minister chose on Friday to strike a markedly warm tone towards the French president.

Following their phone call, No 10 emphasized areas of co-operation - including climate change, defence, the war in Ukraine and energy.

According to Downing Street, Mr Sunak "stressed the importance he places on the UK's relationship with France - our neighbour and ally".

The Élysée said Mr Macron spoke of his willingness to deepen ties in defence and energy.

The UK and France have clashed in recent years over post-Brexit fishing rights, the AUKUS security pact and migration.

Read more of this report from BBC News.

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