Trump to snub Macron’s ‘Peace Forum’

US President Donald Trump is set to snub a peace conference organised by French President Emmanuel Macron this weekend as part of World War I commemorations in Paris, organisers said on Thursday.

Trump is due in the French capital along with around 70 other leaders for a ceremony on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday morning to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.

Many of the invitees, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Germany’s Angela Merkel, are then expected to attend the opening of the inaugural Paris Peace Forum, which Macron will host.

Ending uncertainty about whether the US leader would participate, chief organiser Justin Vaisse confirmed to AFP on Thursday that Trump did not plan to attend.

In an interview earlier this week, Vaisse had played down the importance of his presence and said the Forum was part of Macron’s efforts to organise a  “fightback” against the threat of rising nationalism.

“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,” he said.

“This world needs to meet up and defend itself,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if those who don’t believe in multilateralism aren’t there.”

Macron has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s “America First” policies and of his decisions to pull out of international agreements such as the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal and most recently a nuclear arms treaty.

While the two leaders struck up a warm relationship initially, particularly during Trump’s first visit to Paris as president in July 2017, their ties have cooled recently amid a growing list of disagreements, diplomats say.

Trump and Macron are to hold talks Saturday at the Elysee Palace, the French president’s official residence, French officials said.

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