President Under Fire After Cancelling WWI Cemetery Visit Due to Weather

Again, Buhari leaves Nigeria

Europe should be "strong" and shoulder a larger share of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense burden, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron agreed when they met after the USA president slammed the French leader's idea of a "real European army".

Trump arrived in Paris for World War 1 commemorations on Friday night blasting what he termed "very insulting" remarks from Macron who had mentioned the United States alongside China, Russia as national security threats earlier this week.

PARIS President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron worked to project unity today after Trump lashed out at Macron, saying he insulted the US when he pushed the idea of Europe having its own defense force.

Later in the interview, he spoke about the need for a European army, saying: "Faced by Russian Federation, which is on our borders and which has shown that it can be threatening. we need to have a Europe that can better defend itself by itself, without depending exclusively on the United States".

Trump was scheduled to join dozens of world leaders Sunday at a ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe marking Armistice Day.

White House chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, his wife and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit instead.

"We have become very good friends over the last couple of years", he said.

Even as he embarked on two days of observances for the November 11, 1918 armistice, Trump said the United States now bears far too much of the burden to defend the West.

The "main victim" of the withdrawal, Macron argued, is "Europe and its security".

The US and French leaders apparently attempted to smooth their differences, according to an Elysee official, who said that the two men had a "very constructive" meeting, while calling an earlier spat between them a "misunderstanding".

No sooner had Trump touched down in Paris for a weekend of events to mark the end of WWI - including a meeting with Macron - than he fired off a tweet castigating his host over proposals to endow the European Union (EU) with its own, joint army. "Trump will use the USA military for a pre election political stunt but sits in his hotel instead of honoring those who fought and died for America". "Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?" he tweeted. A US delegation led by White House chief of staff John F. Kelly and Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will go in Trump's place.

"We want a strong Europe".

The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial commemorates one of the most horrific American engagements of World War I - the Battle of Belleau Wood.

Defending his call for a European army, the French leader said: "It is unfair to have European security being assured by the USA".

President Macron argued isolating Iran the way Mr Trump had would only create more conflicts.

Mr. Trump touted their friendship.

The Elysee Palace official told the AFP news agency there had been a "misunderstanding" and that Trump - who called Macron's comments "very insulting" - told the French leader: "I think we are much closer than it seems".

When Macron first took power, he expressed hope that he might be able to have a restraining influence on Trump, then newly elected like him.

The "America First" leader, who faced criticism on Saturday for cancelling a trip to an American cemetery because of the rainy weather, will snub the Paris Peace Forum.

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