Armistice centenary in Europe last updated

Donald Trump Decides Not to Go to Historic U.S. Cemetery in France — Because It's Raining

Mrs Merkel became the first German leader since World War Two to visit the forest near the town of Compiègne in northern France where the Armistice was signed.

President Donald Trump and dozens of world leaders gathered Sunday in Paris to mark the 100 years since the moment World War I ended.

But decades later, as living memories fade of the trenches and the poison gas, nationalism is on the rise.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump, who wore a cornflower - France's war remembrance flower - in his lapel, had arrived separately "due to security protocols".

French President Emmanuel Macron warned against the dangers of nationalism in a speech aimed directly at the rising tide of populism in the United States and Europe.

"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism", Macron said. "Because patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism".

"By putting our own interests first, with no regard to others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values", Macron said.

"History sometimes threatens to repeat its tragic patterns, and undermine the legacy of peace we thought we had sealed with the blood of our ancestors", he said.

Trump and First Lady Melania were no-shows on Saturday afternoon following the row with Macron over France's contribution to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Despite these measures, a protester from the radical feminist group Femen managed to jump over a barricade and got within metres of Trump's motorcade as he made his way up the Champs-Elysees.

Without referring to Donald Trump by name, all three of them on Sunday railed against the United States president's world view and the dangers of disregarding worldwide norms as they spoke at the start of the Paris Peace Forum in the French capital.

His trademark bright red tie stood out among the dark coats in the front row as he and Putin stood either side of Macron. "We want to help Europe, but it has to be fair", Trump told reporters after their meeting.

His actions have raised questions about the state of longstanding USA relationships.

After the service today, the world leaders will attend a lunch hosted by the French President. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was positioned in pride of place between President Trump and Mr Macron, a powerful symbol of victors and vanquished now standing together, shoulder to shoulder.

Mr Trump is scheduled to visit a different U.S. cemetery near Paris on Sunday. But light, steady rain and a low cloud ceiling prevented his helicopter from traveling to the site.

Around 70 leaders including U.S. and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin marked the centenary of the 1918 Armistice in the French capital at 11am local time (1000 GMT).

Trump was scheduled to visit the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in the suburbs of Paris.

President Trump will join scores of other world leaders on Sunday for a ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe to mark the WWI centennial.

Their body language was less warm than during Trump´s last trip to Paris in July 2017 and Macron´s visit to the White House in April, underscoring a general cooling in relations which were further strained by a late-night tweet by Trump on defence. Later, he claimed that he was in Paris to celebrate the armistice.

Sunday's ceremony occurs in the same vicinity but won't be as overly militaristic; it is meant to commemorate the end of war and not the practice of it.



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