Nov 11, 2018 15:58 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Oct 04, 2019 12:00 Asia/Tehran]

World's top political figures gathered in the French capital to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Iran press/ Europe: World leaders gathered under driving rain in Paris on Sunday to lead global commemorations marking 100 years since the end of World War I.

 According to AFP, around 70 leaders including US and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin ,German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of monarchs, princes, presidents and prime ministers joined Macron to mark the 1918 Armistice in the French capital at 11 am local time (1000 GMT).

Ceremonies in New Zealand and Australia marked the start of the November 11 memorial events across the world, and huge crowds paid tribute to the more than 80,000 servicemen and women who gave their lives in the Great War. 

French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a near 20-minute speech that called on his fellow leaders not to forget the lessons of the past and the hopes of people worldwide for peace.

"Ruining this hope with a fascination for withdrawal, violence or domination would be a mistake for which future generations would rightly find us responsible," Macron told them.

Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who on Saturday poignantly visited the forest clearing in northeastern France where the Armistice was signed, had signalled beforehand that they intended to use the Paris ceremony to warn about the modern-day danger of nationalism.

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

Merkel will give the opening address alongside UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at a peace conference in Paris following the memorial service on the Champs-Elysees.

The Paris Peace Forum, conceived by Macron, is intended to highlight the importance of international institutions in helping resolve conflicts, avert wars and spread prosperity.

According to chief organiser Justin Vaisse, "The aim of the forum is to show that there are lots of forces in the international system -- states, NGOs, foundations, intellectuals, companies -- who believe we need a world of rules, an open world and a multilateral world."

Despite the show of unity at the Arc de Triomphe, tensions lurk beneath the surface.

Trump, whose hardline nationalism has badly shaken the Western alliance, arrived in Paris on Friday criticising host Macron for being "insulting".

Trump took umbrage at a recent interview in which Macron talked about the need for a European army and listed the US along with Russia and China as potential threats to national security.

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

Other attendees of the memorial service and Forum included Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Canadian premier Justin Trudeau and Zionist Regime's Benyamin Netanyahu as well as Putin.

About 70 current-day nations were involved in WWI, which had six empires and colonial powers at its heart: Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

Around 10 million soldiers are estimated to have been killed during the fighting and more than double that number wounded.

Between five and 10 million civilians are estimated to have been killed. 203/103

 

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