Merkel, Macron defend multilaterism as Trump avoids peace forum

Trump rips Macron call for unified European military

Macron Moves to Ease Tensions With Trump on European Defense

President Trump joined French leader Emmanuel Macron on Sunday as almost 70 world leaders gathered in Paris to mark 100 years since the end of World War I.

He made the call during Sunday's remembrance ceremony in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first World War.

The US President also faced criticism after the White House canceled a planned trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, 50 miles outside Paris, on Saturday due to "scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather".

In a radio interview this week, Macron had named the United States alongside China and Russian Federation as sources of risk.

David Frum, once a speechwriter for President George W Bush, tweeted that he thought it was "incredible" that a president would not pay respects to the USA servicemen who died in France during the First World War.

As bells marking the armistice hour started ringing out across Paris and in many nations hit by the four years of slaughter, Mr Macron and other leaders were still on their way to the centennial site at the Arc de Triomphe.

Some 10,000 police have been drafted in to ensure maximum security in a city repeatedly targeted by terrorists.

On Saturday evening, the Trumps were among more than 120 guests, including dozens of heads of state and government, who attended a special dinner hosted by Macron and his wife Brigitte at the Orsay art museum in Paris.

Earlier, in one of the day's high points, Macron and Merkel unveiled a plaque to Franco-German reconciliation in a forest clearing in northeast France where the armistice ending WWI was signed.

Speaking at an open-air podium, without an umbrella, he named World War II veterans present and thanked them each in turn.

The weekend's centenary commemorations have been marked by contrasting shows of German-French reconciliation - with Merkel constantly at Macron's side - and Trump's testy isolation.

When the woman asked Merkel a second time if she was Mrs Macron, Merkel leaned in and said into her ear in French: "Je suis chancelière allemand", while Macron looked on bemused.

The forum in Paris a three-day conference aimed at promoting concrete actions toward peace and encouraging multilateralism.

President Trump took umbrage at a recent interview in which President Macron talked about the need for a European army and cited the United States, along with Russian Federation and China, as potential security risks. Trump, who has described himself as a nationalist and has promoted what he calls an "America First" policy, sat a few feet away, stony-faced.

"President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia", Trump wrote. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which the USA subsidizes greatly!"

With the memory of two World Wars slowly fading and most witnesses already dead, Macron's supporters say, conflicts might be becoming more likely once again.

Trump has made similar arguments, particularly in urging NATO's European members to increase its share of defence spending.

Both Trudeau and Macron delivered empowering speeches; throwing shade at Trump's tactics and ideologies. "I like the idea of President Trump pushing NATO to pay more, getting out of the intermediate ballistic missile treaty with Russian Federation - made sense to me because Russia's cheating and the treaty doesn't cover China and North Korea..."

The WWI commemorations come at a watershed moment for the liberal post-war order, with anti-immigration populists at the helm in the U.S. and Brazil, sharing power in Italy, and making strong gains in Germany, where Merkel has announced her resignation in 2021 after a series of electoral setbacks.

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