Macron, Trump mark Bastille Day

Alpha jets from the Patrouille de France, the French Air Force’s precision aerobatic demonstration team, flying over the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel during the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris yesterday.
Alpha jets from the Patrouille de France, the French Air Force’s precision aerobatic demonstration team, flying over the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel during the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS
US troops, led by soldiers in US combat attire from World War I, marching in the Bastille Day parade in Paris yesterday. The French government traditionally invites a country of honour to lead the parade, which is linked to a historical event and hig
US troops, led by soldiers in US combat attire from World War I, marching in the Bastille Day parade in Paris yesterday. The French government traditionally invites a country of honour to lead the parade, which is linked to a historical event and highlights a symbolic gesture of friendship. US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania were invited to attend the ceremony this year to mark the 100th anniversary of US involvement in World War I.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Their growing friendship on display on France's national day

PARIS • French President Emmanuel Macron and United States President Donald Trump marked France's national day yesterday at a military parade, which clearly delighted the US President and showcased the warming relations between the two leaders.

Mr Macron invited Mr Trump to be his guest of honour at the Bastille Day celebration, which featured French and American troops marching down the fabled Champs-Elysees in Paris, opening to a fly-past by two US F-22 stealth fighters and climaxing in a roaring pass by French jets.

Mr Trump, 71, was frequently on his feet and applauding, while he and Mr Macron again looked at ease in each other's company, leaning in to chat and touching each other on the shoulder.

"Nothing will ever separate us," Mr Macron said during a speech at the end of the parade, adding that Mr Trump's presence was "the sign of a friendship across the ages" between their countries.

The Paris parade this year marked the centenary of the US entering World War I in 1917 and featured 63 planes, 29 helicopters, 241 horses and 3,720 soldiers, including US troops dressed in the brown uniform and gaiters of the Great War.

"It was a great honour to represent the United States at the magnificent #BastilleDay parade," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter after his departure, which featured another long and muscular handshake between the men. "Congratulations President @EmmanuelMacron!" he added.

LASTING BOND

Nothing will ever separate us.

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON, on continuing warm bilateral ties between France and the US.

But the celebrations were also tinged with mourning, one year on since a massacre in the Mediterranean city of Nice where a man drove a truck into a crowd, killing 86 people.

Mr Macron, 39, rolled out the red carpet for Mr Trump's two-day visit, hoping to improve relations and persuade the US President to change his mind about withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change. Mr Trump said cryptically after their talks on Thursday that "something could happen with respect to the Paris accord... but we will talk about that over the coming period of time."

PROUD TO BE AT PARADE

It was a great honour to represent the United States at the magnificent #BastilleDay parade... Congratulations President @EmmanuelMacron!

US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, tweeting after leaving Paris.

Mr Trump had appeared isolated at a meeting of world leaders last weekend in Germany over his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris global climate change agreement and his protectionist stance on trade.

The warm body language between him and Mr Macron seemed at odds with broader concerns about the transatlantic relationship since Mr Trump's election victory in November last year.

The two men enjoyed a "dinner between friends" on Thursday at a Michelin-starred restaurant on the Eiffel Tower.

Joined by their wives Brigitte and Melania, they tucked into beef with truffle sauce, and warm strawberry and yoghurt sorbet, with one of the most celebrated views in the world as their backdrop.

Mr Trump also said Thursday that the bond between the US and France, as well as the friendship between him and Mr Macron, was "unbreakable".

Despite their differences on climate change and trade, the two leaders focused on their close cooperation on fighting terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria during their talks.

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, the start of the French Revolution and a turning point in history.

After Mr Trump left, Mr Macron was due to fly to Nice for a ceremony commemorating those who were killed when a Tunisian man drove a truck into crowds of families following a fireworks display.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2017, with the headline 'Macron, Trump mark Bastille Day'. Print Edition | Subscribe