World leaders gather in Paris to mark First World War centenary

039;Very insulting': Trump bashes Macron's idea of European army for protection from Russia China & US

A French presidential source revealed on Saturday that US President Donald Trump assured French President Emmanuel Macron that Saudi Arabia is the cornerstone of stability in the region.

Kareen Rispal, France's ambassador to Canada, says Trudeau's appearance at the ceremony is a reminder of Canada's contributions during the First World War that aren't always recognized. Afterwards, he planned to visit and deliver Veterans day remarks at the suresnes American cemetery and memorial outside Paris where more than 1,500 Americans who died during the war are buried.

Trump later was attending a leaders' lunch hosted by Macron.

He is specifically pushing for the creation of a nine-country European force, independent from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, that could rapidly mount a joint military operation, evacuate civilians from a war zone, or provide aid after a natural disaster.

The visit underscored the close ties between two countries that fought three wars between 1870 and 1945 but are now seen as the lynchpins of peace in Western Europe.

Mr Macron said he agreed that "we need a much better burden-sharing within Nato".

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump, who wore a cornflower - France's war remembrance flower - in his lapel, had arrived separately "due to security protocols".

The decision prompted a rash of criticism on Twitter, with Nicholas Soames, a British member of parliament who is a grandson of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, saying that Trump was dishonoring US servicemen.

After a meeting at the Elysée Palace, Mr Macron said he agreed that Europe should pay more.

During the ceremony Sunday, Macron sat with Angela Merkel on his immediate right, with Trump just beyond the German Chancellor.

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As they began their meeting Saturday morning at the Elysee Palace, the USA president again called for better burden sharing for the cost of defending Europe. "I want to help people around the world, but we have to take care of our country, or we won't have a country".

Macron's plan, however, has received a tepid response from Europe's economic and military powerhouse, Germany, which has expressed its open scepticism of France's proposed 10-member state defence initiative.

Trump, who champions a nationalist "America first" policy, will not attend the forum.

The US leader has however ducked out of a peace conference Sunday in Paris, which Macron and Merkel intend to use as a platform for promoting multilateralism.

The President's chief of staff, John Kelly, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford traveled to the cemetery to lay a wreath instead.

The US president took umbrage at a recent interview in which Macron talked about the need for a European army and listed the US along with Russian Federation and China as a threat to national security.

On Saturday, he was criticized for canceling a visit to the Belleau Wood battleground northeast of Paris because of rain.

French officials, however, say - without elaborating - there was a misunderstanding by Trump about Macron's comments, noting the USA president told his French counterpart in their Saturday meeting: "I think we are much closer than it seems".

The spat was the latest between Trump and Macron, who struck up a warm relationship initially but have clashed over a growing list of issues, including Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal.

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