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Leaders make peace the priority

By CHEN WEIHUA | Updated: 2018-11-12 10:22

Macron warns against mistakes of past at somber commemoration ceremony

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte arrive to attend a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of World War I, at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, France, November 11, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

World leaders gathered in Paris on a rainy Sunday morning to mark 100 years since the end of the World War I with a reminder not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

French President Emmanuel Macron and around 70 world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, marched to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe for a somber centenary ceremony.

The memorial marked the hour— 11 am on Nov 11, 1918—when the guns fell silent after more than four years of killing on the Western Front.

Speaking at the ceremony, Macron said that "during these four years of fighting, Europe nearly committed suicide".

An estimated 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians died in the conflict, also known as the Great War, which began on July 28, 1914.

Macron warned against the rise of nationalism, saying "patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism".

"Old demons are resurfacing. History sometimes threatens to take its tragic course again and compromise our hope of peace. Let us vow to prioritize peace over everything," he said.

The 40-year-old called on countries to join hands to fight challenges such as climate change, poverty, famine and inequality.

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