May 19, 2019

Trump hails America's 'great warriors' in WWI cemetery visit

11 November 2018, 09:17 | Glen Norman

President Trump upon arrival at Orly Airport near Paris on Nov. 9 2018

Arriving in Paris Trump wastes no time assailing French President Macron

They signed a book of remembrance in a railway carriage identical to the one in which the 1918 Armistice was sealed.

The Russian president is hoping his personal ties with Trump, who regularly touts their good relationship, will at some point yield a softening of the USA approach to his country.

Macron has sought to counter some of Trump's agenda and he has organized a three-day Peace Forum that will begin Sunday afternoon, just as Trump heads home to Washington on Air Force One.

Macron, during a visit to the World War One Western Front at Verdun, told Europe 1 radio that in face of a revived threat from Moscow that Europe needed to "defend itself better alone" and Europeans can not protect themselves without a "true European army".

There has been a similar resurgence in nationalist-populist sentiment from Brazil to Turkey and the Philippines, echoing trends in Russian Federation and the United States and challenging the multilateralism that leaders like Macron are keen to preserve.

Australians mark 100 years since end of WWI.

The forest in Compiegne is doubly symbolic as Adolf Hitler chose the same train carriage in the same clearing to sign the surrender of the French on June 22, 1940 at the start of World War II.

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Trump also drew some criticism Sunday for arriving separately to the Arc de Triomphe, as other world leaders arrived together and walked side by side to the commemoration ceremony.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of monarchs, princes, presidents and prime ministers joined Macron to mark the moment guns fell silent across Europe a century ago.

Why did Trump cancel his cemetery trip?

Trump and Macron said during a meeting Saturday that they had calmed stormy waters after the two sparred over a trans-Atlantic military alliance, better known as NATO, and the American president's continual unease about spending by member countries.

White House officials later explained that low cloud would have prevented his helicopter from landing, and cited security concerns about arranging a motorcade to the site.

Gen John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, attended on the president's behalf. "Those veterans the president didn't bother to honor fought in the rain, in the mud, in the snow - [and] many died in trenches for the cause of freedom".

Particularly strong reaction came from Nicholas Soames, UK Conservative MP and grandson of British wartime leader Winston Churchill.

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Did Trump and Macron patch up their differences?

Putin told Russia's RT network after the ceremony that he and Trump might have a conversation during the leaders' luncheon, but a formal meeting would wait until they cross paths at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aries later this month.

Macron defended his viewpoint, saying "I do share President Trump's views that we need a much better burden-sharing with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and that's why I do believe that my proposal for a European defense" is "utterly consistent with that".

Macron said in an interview earlier this week that Europe needs to protect itself against "China, Russia and even the United States" in terms of cyberspace.

A Macron adviser said that in his talks with Trump the French president emphasized the need for greater European autonomy on defence but said it was "not to the detriment of the US".

"By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others', we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values".

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