Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump, Macron may clash on European defense in Paris talks

Trump, Macron may clash on European defense in Paris talks

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron embrace at the conclusion of a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, April 24, 2018.

While in Paris, President Buhari will also join other world leaders to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the Armistice signed on November 11, 1918 between the Allied Forces and Germany in the forest of Compiegne in France to end the First World War.

United States President Donald Trump on Friday criticised his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron for suggesting the Europe should build its own army.

Trump sent a tweet calling Macron's proposal "very insulting" as the USA president's plane landed Friday evening for celebrations with world leaders commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference after a summit of heads of state and government at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 12, 2018. In response to threats from Russia, Macron argued: "We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the United States, in a more sovereign manner".

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The force, which would fall far short of an army in size and scope, would be able to rapidly mount a joint military operation, evacuate civilians from a war zone or provide aid after a natural disaster.

Mr Trump's reaction is likely to add to strains in transatlantic relations, which will be under the spotlight this weekend as 70 world leaders, including Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, gather in Paris to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

French officials said Macron's European Union army proposal was merely a call for closer defense integration.

He planned to meet with Macron on Saturday for talks on topics expected to include European security, Syria and Iran.

Fresh off US congressional elections that saw his Republican Party's power erode, Trump is spending the weekend in Paris to bolster the US-European alliance at World War One remembrance ceremonies.

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The tone of this visit will be markedly less festive.

Speaking to reporters Friday before his departure Trump said he was "looking forward" to the trip.

"I don't think we have anything scheduled in Paris and I'm coming back very quickly", the president said.

Mr Macron has been a longstanding critic of Trump.

The isolationist U.S. leader has, however, ducked out of a peace conference Sunday afternoon, which Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel intend to use as a platform for promoting multilateralism.

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The president, joined by his wife Melania and high-ranking United States officials, arrived late on Friday aboard Air Force One for a visit that he called "very special" and one that he "looked forward to".

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