French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday urged dozens of world leaders marking a century since the end of World War I to come together for a joint “fight for peace.”
“Let us build our hopes rather than playing our fears against each other,” he told leaders gathered at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Speaking to an audience that included US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, he called for leaders to fight “withdrawal, violence and domination.”
“Together, we can ward off threats — the specter of global warming and the destruction of the environment, poverty, hunger, disease, inequalities, ignorance,” he said.
After spending a week touring the former battlefields of northern France, he urged leaders not to forget the slaughter, “one hundred years after a massacre whose scars are still visible on the face of the world.”
Macron also asserted that “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”
Trump, who last month declared at a midterm rally that he is “a nationalist,” arrived in Paris on Friday and criticized host Macron for being “insulting.”
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 Russia and China as a threat to national security.
The “America First” leader, who faced criticism on Saturday for canceling a trip to an American cemetery because of the rainy weather, will snub a conference called the Paris Peace Forum, which was to take place later Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah were also in Paris to attend the events surrounding the armistice centenary.
Prior to his departure, Netanyahu said that though World War I predated Israel’s creation, the conflict had “great importance” because hundreds of thousands of Jews participated in the fighting, which he said foreshadowed the Jewish people’s ability to defend itself.
On Monday, Netanyahu and Macron are scheduled for a bilateral meeting, before the prime minister heads back to Israel, according to his office.
Netanyahu is hoping to convince Paris to pressure Beirut over what Israel says are Iranian plans to build precision missile factories in Lebanon, according to Hebrew media reports.
During his brief stay in Paris, Netanyahu was also expected to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a bilateral meeting, though neither Berlin nor Jerusalem confirmed the meeting. Netanyahu will not meet with Putin, despite his repeated efforts to schedule such a meeting.