The Latest: WWI Centennial: Macron Backs European Army Idea

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
November 10, 2018World News

French President Emmanuel Macron is pushing for a strong joint European military as he hosts international events marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Macron is launching a peace forum on Nov. 11, to stress the importance of multilateral cooperation to prevent new world wars, but he also stressed the importance of investing in Europe’s military forces.

In a meeting with President Donald Trump, Macron said that “it’s unfair to have European security today being assured by the U.S.” He added, “that’s why I believe we need more European capacities and more defense.”

President Emmanuel Macron President Trump
French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald J. Trump, meet at the Elysee palace in Paris, on Nov. 10, 2018. (Christophe Petit Tesson/AP)

Macron has pushed for a European intervention force but the idea meets resistance in some capitals, which want to keep military capabilities under national sovereignty.

He hailed a “superb operation” against Syria earlier this year—when United States, French, and British forces bombed targets believed to be part of President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons program.

Serbia is holding large military drills to mark 100 years since the end of World War I in an apparent show of force amid rising tensions with Kosovo.

The live-ammunition maneuvers on Saturday, dubbed “The Century of Winners,” include 8,000 soldiers, 100 battle tanks and MiG-29 fighter jets supplied by Russia.

stand front Arc Triomphe
A stand is set up in front the Arc de Triomphe ahead of ceremonies marking the 100th of the end of World War I, on Nov. 9, 2018. (Thibault Camus/AP)

Tensions recently have increased in the region, with Serbia and Kosovo accusing each other of undermining efforts at reconciliation following a 1998-99 war which ended after NATO intervention. The former Serbian province declared independence in 2008 which Belgrade doesn’t recognize.

Serbia is often wrongly accused of starting World War I after a Serb nationalist assassinated the Austrian archduke in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1914. Serbia suffered the worst losses proportional to the size of its army during the war.

Canada Pays Tribute

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has paid homage to veterans at a World War I centennial commemoration in a cemetery in northern France, thanking soldiers for their service as he stood amid row upon row of silent graves.

With medal-bedecked veterans in attendance Saturday morning, Trudeau spoke of the “history for which you bled and fought, a history built on your sacrifice.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers a formal apology on behalf of his nation for turning away a ship full of Jewish refugees trying to flee Nazi Germany in 1939 in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, on Nov. 7, 2018. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian/AP)

He said Canada owes its veterans “a tremendous debt of gratitude” and added: “From the very bottom of our hearts, thank you.”

Clutching a red chrysanthemum, Trudeau also walked among the white gravestones at the Canadian Cemetery No. 2, in Neuville-St.Vaast in northern France. It holds the remains of 820 casualties from the 1914-1918 war.

A weekend of commemorations involving dozens of world leaders to mark 100 years since the end of World War I is underway, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicking off the events in France and elsewhere with a visit to a cemetery.

Trudeau met veterans and laid a wreath Saturday at a Canadian cemetery in northern France containing the remains of 820 casualties from the 1914-1918 conflict, many unidentified and lying under white headstones marked simply: A soldier of the Great War.

cemetery employee walks between graves
A cemetery employee walks between graves of American serviceman killed during WWI ahead of celebrations of the WWI centenary at the American Cemetery in Suresnes, on the outskirts of Paris, France, on Nov. 9, 2018. (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

More than 60 heads of state and government are converging on France for the commemorations that will crescendo Sunday with ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly a century after the armistice.

By Angela Charlton

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