Putin chats with Trump, Macron thrashes nationalism at WWI centenary in Paris

  • Date of Publication : 13/11/2018 at 10:42 GMT
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It was a busy day in Paris as world leaders flocked to the City of Lights to mark the centenary of the end of WWI. Putin and Trump chatted, Macron criticized nationalism, and topless protestors disrupted the US leader’s motorcade.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump were both late for the ceremony on Saturday but were visibly glad to see each other when they finally arrived.

The two leaders nodded, with Putin tapping his US counterpart on the shoulder and giving him a thumbs up. The Russian president then greeted both Trump and his wife Melania with handshakes, under the scrutinizing gaze of the other world leaders.

Every circumstance was against the reunion, it seems: Putin and Trump were reportedly supposed to sit next to each other during a working lunch at the Elysee Palace, but last-minute changes placed them on the opposite sides of the table.

Instead, the Russian president was entertained by conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker; while Trump was given a seat between Macron and Moroccan King Mohammed VI.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, however, and despite initial reports that there’d been no conversation, Putin later said he did manage to sneak a chat with Trump at lunch. That it had been a “good” discussion was, however, the only detail he was willing to share.

‘Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism’
Later on in the day, Macron used his address to make what many saw as a veiled swipe at Trump. Speaking from a stage at the foot of the iconic Arc de Triomphe, he blasted nationalism, which, according to him, erases the most important thing for any country: “Its moral values.”

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” the French leader said.

Trump, a self-proclaimed unapologetic nationalist and advocate of the “America First” agenda, was reportedly unimpressed, acknowledging Macron with just a few weak claps.

However, a France 24 journalist claimed that the US president didn’t even have an earpiece on and simply couldn’t understand a word of what Macron was saying.

The past year’s “bromance” between the French and American leaders seems history now, as their relations slide downhill over Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal and his tariff war against Europe. Trump didn’t seem too happy to see Macron on his visit to Paris – especially after he slammed the French leader’s proposal of a European army on Twitter just a couple of days prior.

Unexpectedly, Macron’s idea received backing from Putin, who told RT that it was “only natural” for the EU to seek independence in security and defense. The potential creation of a European army would be “a positive process” that would “strengthen the multipolar world,” he said.

Trump not welcome
In Paris, the bare-breasted protestors from FEMEN once again proved that they can’t be stopped by even the tightest security measures. A reckless, shirtless lady climbed over the barricades and almost threw herself at Trump’s motorcade as it drove along the Champs Elysees, prompting the police to intervene.

Some less dangerous, and less spectacular, forms of protest against the US president’s arrival were also employed on Sunday. Several hundred people gathered in central Paris despite the rainy weather to decry Trump’s policies, chanting slogans, carrying anti-war banners and waving LGBT pride flags.

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