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Britain is to deploy three military helicopters to help France take on Islamist terrorists in western Africa.

The RAF Chinooks will provide logistic support to French troops as part of a wider effort to increase stability in the Sahel region.On top of the military support, the Department for International Aid will also allocate £50m-worth of humanitarian support for hundreds of thousands of people affected by epidemics, natural disasters and conflict across Mali, Niger, Chad, North Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. The announcement comes ahead of talks between Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron at a UK-France summit the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on Thursday.

President Macron, who will be visiting the UK for the first time since his election victory last year, will also use the summit to confirm that the Bayeux Tapestry – which depicts the Norman Conquest of England – will be put on display in Britain for the first time.

Senior ministers from the UK and French governments will also attend the summit, which is expected to cover defence and security, foreign policy, nuclear energy, innovation, science and education. Mrs May will also promise more cash for Calais migrants in order to retain Britain’s present border arrangements with France after Brexit. The Prime Minister is expected to accept President Macron’s request that the UK should accept more unaccompanied migrants from the Calais camp.

Mrs May said: “The summit will underline that we remain committed to defending our people and upholding our values as liberal democracies in the face of any threat, whether at home or abroad. But our friendship has always gone far beyond defence and security and the scope of today’s discussions represents its broad and unique nature. And while this summit takes place as the UK prepares to leave the EU, this does not mean that the UK is leaving Europe. What is clear from the discussions we will have today is that a strong relationship between our two countries is in the UK, France and Europe’s interests, both now and into the future.”

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