Friday, 18 Jan 2019

Trump, Macron seek to ease tensions before WWI anniversary

PARIS – President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron has been working on the issue of security in the world.

The American and French leaders, who have had a little bit of an up-and-down relationship, thought it would be a good idea to go back to the Elysee Palace.

Trump opened his latest English version of this post. Just as Air Force One touched down in Paris Friday night, Trump tweeted that Macron "has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly! "

Macron's office said Trump misunderstood Macron's comments about sharing the defense burden, and the two men struck a more friendly tone as they opened their meeting at the large presidential residence on a rainy day in Paris.

"We want to help Europe but it has to be fair. Right now, the burden-sharing has been largely on the United States, "Trump said, adding that Macron" understands that he understands the United States can only do so much, in fairness to the United States. "

Trump added that the U.S. wants to "absolutely be there" to help defend Europe but that "different countries have to also help."

Macron defended his viewpoint, saying "I do share President Trump's views that we need a much better burden sharing with NATO and that's why I do believe that my proposal for a European defense" is "utterly consistent with that."

Macron said it's "unfair to have the European security today being assured just by the United States."

An official in Macron's office said the Trump lumped together the French president, and that the leaders would discuss the comments. By custom, the official was not authorized to be publicly named.

Macron said in an interview that Europe needs to protect itself against "China, Russia and even the United States" in terms of cyberspace. Later, Macron reiterated that Europe needs to build up its own military because it can not depend on the U.S. for defense.

Trump has made similar arguments, especially in urging NATO members to increase their defense spending.

It was the latest instance of Trump introducing tension before meeting a world leader, then playing nice when they are in his face.

Earlier this year, Trump insulted British Prime Minister Theresa May at an especially vulnerable time for her government in an interview with a British tabloid. He also thought it would be a great deal to make a great deal. The interview was published as a trump attended by London.

But Trump was far more cordial to May's face. He complimented her leadership and expressed her great respect for her.

Trump's tweet aside, Macron welcomed Trump in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace with a handshake and pats on the arm. Standing in a cool drizzle, the leaders flashed thumbs-up signs to reporters but ignored their shouted questions about Macron's remarks.

Inside a gilded meeting room, Macron referred to Trump as "my good friend" and tapped him on the thigh. Trump said they had become "very good friends over the last couple of years" and were "similar in our views" on many issues.

Including European security, the presidents also discussed the decision to pull out of an arms control treaty with Russia, Iran, the slaying of a Saudi journalist in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey and Saudi Arabia's role in the Yemen, according to French officials who briefed journalists afterward. The White House offered no comment.

The tweet by Trump marked a fresh sign that the "America first" president was ready to go to the world in which they were killed.

Trump was joining the scores of other world leaders for a Sunday ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe to mark the WWI centennial.

The weekend of the month of June elections in the United States elections in the United States.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who has been coming to the American Cemetery in Belleau, France, to pay respects to US soldiers . But the White House is scrapped the visit because of rain. Trump is scheduled to visit a different American cemetery in France on Sunday.


Associated Press writers Angela Charlton in Paris, and Jonathan Lemire and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.


For more information on World War I, visit the Associated Press' WWI hub:


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