Trump under fire after cancelling WWI cemetery visit

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Donald Trump Maligns Macron As He Lands In Paris After Insulting Press On Way Out Of Town

France's Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on Saturday on the need for Europe to bear more of the burden for defense, papering over an earlier Trump tweet that described Macron's call for a European army as "very insulting".

Discussing the growing dangers from cyber-hacking, meddling in electoral processes and the USA decision to withdraw from a missile treaty, Macron said Europe needed to protect itself against China, Russia "and even the United States".

Trump's tweet was especially wounding to Macron, one of the strongest US allies in Europe.

On Tuesday, the French president said Europe needed a real army to reduce reliance on the USA for defense.

"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America", Macron argued.

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

The armistice entered into force on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, and on Sunday 69 world leaders will commemorate the centennial of the event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, underneath the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris.

Paris was covered in clouds with drizzling rain through most of Saturday.

Trump and Macron struck up a warm relationship initially, particularly during the USA leader's first visit to Paris, but have repeatedly clashed since over a growing list of issues, including Trump pulling America out of the 2015 Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal.

Macron defended his viewpoint, saying he shares Trump's insistence that there be more burden sharing.




The cemetery is located on the site of a World War I battle, in which Americans and French forces battled German force in 1918, killing over 1,800 Americans troops.

File photo of U.S. president Donald Trump.

The US president tweeted after arriving in Paris ahead of an worldwide commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the First World War.

Later on Saturday, Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held hands and rested their heads against one another in a poignant ceremony to mark 100 years of the signing of the Armistice peace agreement in the northern French town of Compiegne.

Trump has long complained about uncompensated US defense spending that benefits allies, and earlier this year threatened to turn his back on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation if members didn't boost their defense spending.

"The aim of the forum is to show that there are lots of forces in the worldwide system - states, NGOs, foundations, intellectuals, companies - who believe we need a world of rules, an open world and a multilateral world", he said.

Ben Rhodes, who was deputy national security adviser to former president Barack Obama, said Mr Trump's decision was "a remarkable insult to our allies" and that he was "blowing off honouring American servicemen who died for us".

The president asks on Twitter, "Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?"

Yet Trump will depart shortly after visiting a memorial site marking the sacrifice of US military troops, leaving town just as Macron's Paris Peace Forum gets underway, a meeting aimed at galvanizing multilateral co-operation on shared challenges, including climate change.

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