Vladimir Putin greets Donald Trump warmly in Paris on Armistice Day

12 November, 2018, 01:54 | Author: Rafael Roberts
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The last to arrive was Russia's Putin, who shook hands with Macron, Merkel and then Trump, briefly giving the United States leader a thumbs up.

He also delivered a stinging indictment of nationalism, calling it "the exact opposite" of the patriotism shown by soldiers.

After the ceremony, which ended with Macron lighting anew the flame at the Arc de Triomphe's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the leaders headed for lunch at the presidential palace.

It came a day after Macron and Trump said they'd patched up differences over a twitter tussle, even as the showy friendliness of their past encounters was replaced by a stiffer interaction.

He and Macron struck up a warm relationship initially but have repeatedly clashed since over a growing list of issues, including Trump´s decision to pull America out of the 2015 Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal.

Macron added that "In saying 'Our interests first, whatever happens to the others, ' you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it live, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: Its moral values".

He denounced rising ideologies that have warped religious beliefs and set loose extremist forces on a "sinister course once again that could undermine the legacy of peace we thought we had forever sealed".

One of dozens of world leaders attending World War I commemorations in France this weekend, Trump tweeted after landing in Paris that Macron's call for a "real European army" was "insulting".

Other notable attendees of Sunday's Paris memorial service and Forum included Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Canadian premier Justin Trudeau and Israel's Benyamin Netanyahu.

With far-right nationalist politicians coming to power from Brazil to Italy to Austria, 40-year-old centrist Macron is set to invoke the war to make the case for global cooperation. Chinese President Xi Jinping also was not present. Overhead, fighter jets ripped through the sky, trailing red, white and blue smoke in homage to the French flag.

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In what's seen as a counter, Australia announced plans to develop a joint naval base with Papua New Guinea on Manus Island. Australia will also establish a Defence Force mobile training team for deployment to the Pacific to upskill local forces.

Trump and Putin took their own motorcades to the event and made separate entrances a few minutes after the main group.

Trump has said he will not hold a bilateral summit with Putin in Paris, with the White House saying he did not want to overshadow the WWI ceremonies.

But neither he nor Russian President Vladimir Putin joined other leaders in a symbolic walk up the Champs-Elysees to the monument.

Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel inspected troops from a joint Franco-German brigade before unveiling a plaque dedicated to the reconciliation and renewed friendship between the foes of two global wars.

Conceived by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Forum is meant to highlight the importance of worldwide institutions in helping resolve conflicts, avert wars and spread prosperity. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed a solo piece.

Trump will have a chance on Sunday to make up for the cancellation, which drew criticism and accusations he was ignoring the sacrifice of American military personnel who died in World War I.

"Ruining this hope with a fascination for isolation, violence or domination would be a mistake for which future generations would rightly find us responsible", President Macron told them. Both commemorated their dead Sunday.

An official in President Macron's office said President Trump lumped together two different comments by the French president, and that the comments would be on the table for Saturday's meeting. That's already something sad.

"The worst can be overcome as long as we have men and women of good will to guide us", Macron said.

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