Donald Trump has endured a stormy two days in Paris with Emmanuel Macron, with the US and French leaders sparring repeatedly. And while Mr Trump smiled as Mr Putin approached a group of leaders at the Arc de Triomphe, Mr Macron looked stern. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also looked on solemnly as Mr Putin approached the group.
The commemoration is the centrepiece of global tributes to honour the 10 million soldiers who were killed during the 1914-18 war and the moment the Armistice, signed in northeastern France, came into effect at 11 am on November 11, 1918.
In a glass canopy at the foot of the triumphal arch, built by Emperor Napoleon in 1806, the leaders stood for the solemn ceremony. The last to arrive was Russia’s Putin, who shook hands with Macron, Merkel and then Trump, briefly giving the U.S. leader a thumbs up.
Macron stood to attention as a military band played the Marseillaise, the French national anthem, before walking through the rain to inspect troops. He then took his place under the Arc while cellist Yo-Yo Ma played a movement from a Bach symphony.
In a rare public display of emotion by the leaders of two world powers, Macron and Merkel held hands on Saturday during a poignant ceremony in the Compiegne Forest, north of Paris, where French and German delegations signed the Armistice that ended the war.
On Sunday afternoon, Macron will host the inaugural Paris Peace Forum, which seeks to promote a multilateral approach to security and governance and ultimately avoid the errors that led to the outbreak of World War One.
Merkel said in a statement the forum showed that “today there is a will, and I say this on behalf of Germany with full conviction, to do everything to bring a more peaceful order to the world, even though we know we still have much work to do.”
Trump, who champions a nationalist ‘America first’ policy, will not attend the forum.
More to follow…