World leaders gather in Paris a century after WWI armistice

ASSOCIATED PRESS               The US flag flutters at half mast prior to a ceremony at the Aisne Marne American cemetery and memorial in Belleau eastern France

ASSOCIATED PRESS The US flag flutters at half mast prior to a ceremony at the Aisne Marne American cemetery and memorial in Belleau eastern France

"I know there are old demons which are coming back to the surface".

Standing in a Paris drizzle just feet from leaders including Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, Macron used the culmination of a ceremony commemorating the centenary of the end of World War I to champion the work of global institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations.

"Patriotism is the exact opposite nationalism".

During the event, French President Emmanuel Macron issued a strong rebuke of nationalism.

Trump and Macron also agreed on the need for more European defense spending.

He denounced fringe ideologies that have become more mainstream, warping religious beliefs and setting loose extremist forces on a "sinister course once again that could undermine the legacy of peace we thought we had forever sealed".

At the forum German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against taking peace for granted, saying, "We have to work for it".

After the service today, the world leaders will attend a lunch hosted by the French President. Chinese President Xi Jinping also was not present.

But neither he nor Russian President Vladimir Putin joined other leaders in a symbolic walk up the Champs-Elysees to the monument.

On the sidelines, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed how to strengthen NATO, Iran, North Korea and Syria, US spokesperson Heather Nauert said. So far, however, the tensions have only built, with the US imposing new rounds of sanctions and vowing to pull out of a Cold War disarmament treaty. Overhead, fighter jets ripped through the sky, trailing red, white and blue smoke in homage to the French flag. Putin was seated next to Trump at the luncheon, Russia's state-run RIA Novosti reported. The group, which had first gathered at the Elysee Palace, had come to the Arc on tour buses along the 230-foot wide boulevard.

Trump did not shake Trudeau's hand when he arrived with wife Melania at the iconic Arc de Triomphe for the November 11 ceremony.

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Yesterday the US President called off a trip to the Belleau Wood battlefield and cemetery because of 'scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather, ' the White House said.

Upon shaking hands, Putin flashed Trump a quick thumbs up in a moment caught on video.

Macron stood to attention as a military band played the Marseillaise, the French national anthem, before walking through the rain to inspect troops. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed a solo piece.

U.S. President Donald Trump attends the American Commemoration Ceremony at the Suresnes American Cemetery in Paris, France, on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.

"It is out duty to preserve the civilization they defended", Trump said of those who fought in the Great War. "We got news of the armistice at 9:30 this morning".

He did not address Macron's speech.

U.S. President Donald Trump in recent weeks described himself as a nationalist and has frequently sparred with the media, whom he has labelled as "fake news" and the enemy of the people - both of which were on display last week in a free-wheeling press conference after the U.S. midterm elections.

"This day is not just about remembering, but should be about a call to action", Merkel said on Saturday.

Mr. Trump lumbered through a series of commemorations rife with complex symbolism and diplomatic pitfalls and then went out on a high note Sunday by refusing to let Mr. Macron's political barbs disturb a solemn Veterans Day tribute. Merkel, his most loyal partner in this endeavor, has announced that she will soon leave public life behind.

"But she's out", he said of Merkel.

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