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Trump slams French calls for European army, snubs Paris Peace Forum

The US president and his wife board Air Force One for Paris, 9 November 2018.
The US president and his wife board Air Force One for Paris, 9 November 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The US President Donald Trump has arrived in France to mark the centennial of the end of World War I, kicking off his visit with an attack on President Emmanuel Macron, over his calls to boost Europe’s military.

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No sooner had Air Force One hit the Paris tarmac than Trump tweeted that Macron’s calls for a “real European army” to reduce reliance on the US were “insulting”.

The French President said on Tuesday, "We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America."
 

Trump insulted by French calls for European army


Macron also hinted that under Trump the US had become a less reliable military partner. "When I see President Trump announcing that he's quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security,” he said.
 

Reinvent multilateralism

 
Trump is to hold talks with Macron on Saturday before taking part memorial services, including the main ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War on 11 November. He will also attend a US Veterans Day ceremony in a US cemetery in the Paris suburb of Suresnes, but will leave France before the Paris Peace Forum, which the French President has organised as the main focus of the gathering.

Some 60 world leaders will be present at the forum, which aims to "reinvent multilateralism" and to encourage collective decision-making in order to avoid the mistakes of past that led to the 1914-18 war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the commemoration and the forum, but Trump has said he will not be holding talks with his Russian counterpart.

The thorny subject of alleged collusion between Moscow and Trump’s campaign in the 2016 presidential election has once again been thrust to the forefront of US politics, after the Republican president sacked his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in the wake of midterm elections that saw Democrats regain the House of Representatives. Trump had been infuriated with Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the probe into Russian meddling, led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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