French President Emmanuel Macron asked to promote multilateral policy and to avoid the errors that led to the outbreak of the grinding conflict in 1914-1918. He called on world leaders, gathering in Paris to join a global tribute to soldiers killed during World War I.
Hosting the inaugural Paris Peace Forum, Macron said: “Our predecessors have tried to build a lasting peace. It’s smashed by the unilateralism of some, economic crises and nationalism.”
“The world we live in is threatened by crises that destabilize our societies: … migrants’ challenge, cybercrime and others. And we are undermined by the resurgence of sad passions, the passions of racism, anti-Semitism,” he told the gathering.
Therefore, he invited his counterparts “to promote concrete actions, so that this work of peace advances a little more each year”.
As part of World War I memorials, Macron, leaders from Germany, Israel, Canada and alongside Arab and African allies walked side by side earlier on Sunday, under the wintry sky, towards the Arc de Triomphe to pay tribute to the 10-million soldiers killed during the 1914-18 war and mark the Armistice.
One hundred years after World War I, the two-day Paris Peace Forum brought together 70 heads of state and government, civil society and regional and international organizations to promote multilateralism and collective action to preserve calm over the globe.
With the notable exception, U.S. President Donald Trump didn’t attend the forum. But, he vowed to preserve peace during a visit to an American cemetery in Suresnes on the western outskirts of the French capital.
“One hundred years ago, the World War One, a brutal war ended, the armistice is, for the United States, anchored in our history …It is our duty to preserve peace for which our fighters had fought,” he said.
Opening the first edition of “Forum for Peace”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “most of the challenges today cannot be solved by one nation alone, but together. That’s why we need a common approach.”
“One hundred years later, we look back on this war, it makes us aware of the devastating consequences that the lack of communications and unwillingness to compromise in politics and diplomacy can have,” she Added.
“The peace we have today, which sometimes seems too obvious, is far from being so and we must fight for it,” she stressed.
Echoing comments of Europe’s main two leaders, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the audience that “multilateralism is no longer just a hope, it is more than ever a necessity”.
“Unless we have a multilateral system, the risk will be that we go back to relations based on strength only, and a spiral of budding conflict,” he said.