Macron warns against nationalism in Armistice speech

Frederick Owens
November 13, 2018

The president did not show an immediate reply, sitting quietly, often with his head down during Macron's speech. "They are ready to wreak chaos and death", Macron said in his remarks at the Arc de Triomphe. "Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism".

UPSTAGED: Russian President Vladimir Putin was the last to arrive at the Arc de Triomphee. U.K. Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood was among those to rebuke Trump, saying that rain "did not prevent our courageous heroes from doing their job".

While Merkel and Macron are pushing back on "America First", Trump has a growing number of like-minded allies among Europe's leaders, including in Hungary, Italy and Poland, but they're as yet too few to set European policy.

"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".

US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron sought Saturday to ease tensions caused by a defence row that risked clouding World War I centenary commemorations in Paris.

The German Chancellor and the French President attended a ceremony near the town of Compiegne on Saturday, to mark the centenary of the signing of the Armistice agreement that ended World War I on November 11, 1918.

An estimated 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians died in the conflict, also known as the Great War, which began on July 28, 1914.

Macron, sporting a cornflower in his lapel - the French equivalent to Britain's remembrance poppy - and Merkel reviewed grey-clad soldiers from the Franco-German brigade, before unveiling a plaque to Franco-German reconciliation.

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"It is our deeply rooted obligation to think of the future, and to consider what is essential", Mr Macron said.

Since then, the USA has sent National Security Adviser John Bolton for two rounds of talks with Russian officials, but the only deal announced publicly was a vague agreement for the two leaders to meet again next year, possibly in Washington. "We renew our sacred obligation to memorialize our fallen heroes" at the cemetery, "where they rest for all eternity", he said.

Trump had snubbed the Peace Forum, instead visiting a military cemetery in the Paris suburbs, a day after coming under heavy fire for cancelling a similar trip due to rain.

The inaugural edition of the Paris Peace Forum, organized in the framework of centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War, is bringing together the representatives of 84 countries and worldwide organizations for three days in the French capital.

Trump called the French leader out on social media Friday, moments after landing in the country to attend events relating to the 100th anniversary of World War I.

Abroad, though, the equivalent of any modern US president's base - the network of alliances built up through two world wars and beyond - appears more fragile. Some 2,289 others are buried at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery next to Belleau Wood.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres meanwhile warned of "parallels" between the present day and the unstable and unsafe 1930s as he marked the centenary of World War I in a speech at the Paris forum.

The German chancellor will be first to speak Sunday afternoon at a Forum for Peace which Macron hopes will help foster multilateralism.

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