Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

In solemn ceremony, Macron leads global WWI Armistice commemorations

In solemn ceremony, Macron leads global WWI Armistice commemorations

Then, several topless woman made it past tight security along the Champs-Elysees Avenue and ran directly into the route of Trump's slowly passing motorcade, shouting, "fake peace maker" as the cars passed on their way to the US ambassador's residence near the Arc de Triomphe, where more than 60 world leaders gathered to mark the anniversary of Armistice Day.

"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism". Macron warned that nationalism is rising and called on the world to work together to build hopes rather than playing our fears against each other.

Macron recounted the suffering inflicted by World War I - millions of lives lost, millions more ruined, the orphans, the destroyed villages, "the scars of which are still visible".

Trump also complained Tuesday about tariffs on US wines sold in France and appeared to take a dig at Macron's low public approval rating. He later described the commemoration as "very handsome".

The Paris weather, grey and damp, seemed fitting when remembering a war fought in mud and relentless horror.

Under a sea of black umbrellas, a line of leaders led by Macron and his wife, Brigitte, marched in silence on the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees, after dismounting from their buses. He repeated his calls for a "true European army" as part of a drive for greater continental autonomy to defend against China, Russia - and an increasingly unreliable U.S. Trump, moments after landing in Paris, described the comment as "insulting".

Also traveling on his own was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who shook Trump's hand, flashed him a thumbs-up sign and patted Trump's arm as he arrived. Macron stood beside German Chancellor Angela Merkel as he spoke.

On Sunday, hundreds of Parisians massed in the city's Place de la Republique to demonstrate against Trump, who braved the rain elsewhere that morning to recognize the 100th anniversary of the armistice at the Arc de Triomphe.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Prince Charles, standing in for Queen Elizabeth, attended a separate remembrance event in London where thousands of well-wishers also paid their respects to fallen soldiers.

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The president was widely criticized for calling off a Saturday visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, on the site of a World War I battle in which 1,800 American soldiers were killed.

The second day of the forum will have discussion panels on various ways to ensure worldwide co-operation in tackling global challenges and in ensuring durable peace.

Trump on Saturday skipped a planned visit to Belleau Wood battlefield and cemetery because of heavy rain, sparking a storm of criticism for what some saw as disrespect to veterans.

In Paris, the jewel that Germany sought to capture in 1914 but which the Allies fought successfully to defend, the armistice commemorations were being followed by the afternoon opening of a peace forum pushed by the host, Mr Macron.

Nearly 10 million soldiers died, sometimes tens of thousands on a single day.

In Russia, while President Putin joined world leaders in Paris, commemoration services were being held across the country.

It also underlined growing concerns over the reliability of USA security guarantees under Trump, and his wider commitment to a postwar global order the US was largely responsible for building and has benefited from, including economically.

On Sunday, Merkel met with the head of the United Nations, an organization born from the ashes of World War II, and the president of Serbia.

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