Thursday, 15 Nov 2018
World

Latest news: French and German leaders show ties during World War I trip

PARIS – The last Armistice commemorations on the First World War (all local times):

3:15 p.m.

The French and German leaders held an intimate commemoration of the site north of Paris, where defeated Germans and victorious but exhausted Allies ended the First World War.

President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the opportunity on Saturday to praise European peace and demonstrate, in person, that countries that were once fierce enemies should not remain so.

Merkel snuggled up against Macron as they stood in front of a dark memorial. The two leaders also boarded a replica train wagon where the armistice was signed last Sunday. Macron affectionately took Merkel's hand after signing a guestbook.

After speaking to the youth in the crowd, Macron said that the German Chancellor and himself wanted to mark the centenary because "we owe it to our fallen soldiers, those young men of your age, or just a little older".

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11:55

French President Emmanuel Macron is campaigning for the creation of a strong common European army while leading international events marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Macron launched a peace forum on Sunday to highlight the importance of multilateral cooperation to prevent new world wars, but he also stressed the importance of investing in European military forces.

In a meeting with US President Donald Trump, Macron said "it is unfair for European security to be provided by the United States today." He added: "That's why I think we need more European capabilities and more defense."

Macron has called for a European intervention force, but the idea meets resistance in some capitals, who wish to maintain military capabilities under national sovereignty.

He hailed a "superb operation" against Syria earlier this year – when US, French and British forces bombed targets suspected of belonging to President Bashar Assad's chemical weapons program.

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11:35

With the words "Fake Peacemakers" written on their bare chest, three supporters of the protest movement Femen demonstrated on the Paris site where world leaders will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The photos showed the three women holding signs stained with fake blood and slogans, including "Welcome to War Criminals", at the demonstration that took place early Saturday at the Arc de Triomphe.

According to French reports, the police quickly took the protesters.

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11:05

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron opposes the tweet of US President Donald Trump that it is "insulting" that Europe wants to build its own army.

An official at Macron's office said Trump had grouped two different comments from the French president. The two men meet Saturday in Paris. The Macron office has announced that this issue will be under consideration.

Trump tweeted Friday night that Macron "has just suggested to Europe to build its own army to protect itself from the United States, China and Russia." Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the United States is subsidizing enormously! "

The French official, who was not allowed to carry a public name, said that Macron "did not say that".

Macron said in an interview earlier this week that Europe had to protect itself against "China, Russia and even the United States" in terms of cyberspace. Later, Macron reiterated that Europe needed to build its own army because it could no longer count on the defense of the United States.

– By Angela Charlton

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10:50

Serbia is organizing major military exercises to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and to show apparent strength in the face of rising tensions with Kosovo.

Saturday's live ammunition, dubbed "The Century of the Winners", includes 8,000 soldiers, 100 battle tanks and MiG-29 fighter aircraft provided by Russia.

Tensions have recently intensified in the region. Serbia and Kosovo have accused each other of undermining reconciliation efforts after the 1998-99 war, which ended after NATO's intervention. The former Serbian province declared independence in 2008, which Belgrade does not recognize.

Serbia is often wrongly accused of having unleashed the First World War following the assassination of the Austrian archduke in Sarajevo, Bosnia, by a Serbian nationalist in 1914. Serbia suffers the worst casualties proportional to the size of his army during the war.

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10:15

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute to veterans at a centennial commemoration of the First World War in a cemetery in northern France, thanking soldiers for their service as he stood in the midst of silent graves .

On Saturday morning, in the presence of veteran medal winners, Trudeau spoke of "the story for which you have bled and fought, a story built on your sacrifice."

He said Canada owes its veterans "a huge debt of gratitude" and added, "From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Holding a red chrysanthemum, Trudeau also walked among the white headstones of Canadian Cemetery No. 2, in Neuville-Saint-Victor, in northern France. It contains the remains of 820 victims of the 1914-1918 war.

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9:50

A weekend of commemorations involving dozens of world leaders to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War is underway, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau giving the kickoff events in France and elsewhere by a visit to a cemetery.

Trudeau met with veterans and laid a wreath Saturday in a Canadian cemetery in northern France containing the remains of 820 victims of the 1914-1918 conflict. Many unidentified and lying under white headstones are simply labeled: A soldier of the Great War.

More than 60 heads of state and government converge on France for the commemorations that will take place on Sunday with the ceremonies on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, exactly a century after the # 39; armistice.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, disseminated, rewritten or redistributed.

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