US PRESIDENT Trump Spent the WW1 Armistice Centenary weekend in Europe, and in a foul mood too after his dreams for a grand military parade evaporated

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” Macron said. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying ‘our interests first; who cares about the others?’, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great, and what makes it essential — its moral values.”
|AIWA! NO!|US PRESIDENT Trump spent the weekend in France, skipping World War I commemoration events and apparently sulking in front of the television, instead of enjoying the grand military parade he’d once envisioned for himself.

The president was dazzled last year by the 2017 Bastille Day parade in Paris, and he notified defense officials he wanted a display like that for Veterans Day the following year, reported CNN.

But military officials balked at the nearly $100 million cost, and eventually persuaded the president he needed to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I’s end with other world leaders.

The solemn events he found in Paris were more stately than spectacular, and he sent a series of tweets grousing about vote recounts back in the U.S. and blaming massive California wildfires on forest management.

World leaders in Paris for World war one centenary
U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and dozens of monarchs, princes, presidents, and prime ministers joined French President Emmanuel Macron to mark the moment guns fell silent across Europe a century ago

Trump remained at the U.S. ambassador’s residence Saturday after military and security officials determined cloud cover posed a safety hazard for the president’s Marine One helicopter, but the White House did not have a backup plan in place to get Trump to the Aisne-Marne American cemetery.

The White House declined to say how Trump spent those hours that opened up in his schedule, but the president tweeted that evening he’d had “some very productive meetings and calls for our country today.”

Trump arrived late, and alone, as other world leaders marched shoulder to shoulder down the Champs-Élysées.

The White House cited unspecified “security protocols” for Trump missing out on the event.

French president Emmanuel Macron took a pointed shot at Trump, who bragged ahead of the midterms that he was a “nationalist,” during the ceremony marking the armistice.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” Macron said. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying ‘our interests first; who cares about the others?’, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great, and what makes it essential — its moral values.”

FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron rips nationalism as Trump looks on: ‘Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism’

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‘Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,’ says France’s Emmanuel Macron at World War I commemoration | world news | Hindustan Times

Nearly 70 world leaders travelled to Paris to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
Photo by: Francois Mori
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 in Paris. Over 60 heads of state and government were taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the mute and powerful symbol of sacrifice to the millions who died from 1914-18. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)

|PARIS; LUKE BAKER, REUTERS|AIWA! NO!| – French President Emmanuel Macron used an address to world leaders gathered in Paris for Armistice commemorations on Sunday to send a stern message about the dangers of nationalism, calling it a betrayal of moral values.

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With U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting just a few feet away listening to the speech via translation earpieces, Macron denounced those who evoke nationalist sentiment to disadvantage others.

“By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others’, we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values.”

Trump, who has pursued “America First” policies since entering the White House and in the run-up to the congressional elections this month declared himself a “nationalist”, sat still and stony-faced in the front row as Macron spoke.

There was no immediate response from either the White House or the Kremlin to Macron’s comments.

WORLD LEADERS laud fallen soldiers on eve of armistice centennial

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold hands after unveiling a plaque in the Clairiere of Rethondes during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, in Compiegne, France, November 10, 2018. Photo by Philippe Wojazer/Pool via Reuters

Leaders laud fallen soldiers on eve of armistice centennial

|AIWA! NO!|PARIS — Traveling from across the world to monuments honoring soldiers who fell 100 years ago, victors and vanquished alike marked those sacrifices Saturday ahead of Armistice Day and assessed alliances that have been redrawn dramatically since the dark days of World War I.

The leaders of former enemies France and Germany, in an intimate gesture that underscored their countries’ current roles as guarantors of peace in Europe, held their heads together at the site north of Paris where the defeated Germans and the Allies signed the agreement that ended the 1914-18 war.

After Chancellor Angela Merkel briefly snuggled her head into the neck of French President Emmanuel Macron, the two went inside a replica of the train car where the armistice was reached and put their names in a guestbook. Macron then took Merkel’s hand in his, again highlighting the changes on the continent where two world wars were fought in the 20th century.

“Our Europe has been at peace for 73 years. There is no precedent for it, and it is at peace because we willed it and first and foremost, because Germany and France wanted it,” he said.

Merkel was equally convinced of the power their friendship exudes.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet with veterans at the Clairiere of Rethondes, during a commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, 100 years after the end of the First World War, in Compiegne, France, November 10, 2018. Photo by Philippe Wojazer/Pool via Reuters

“The will is there, and I say this for Germany with full conviction, to do everything to achieve a more peaceful order in the world even though we know we have very, very much work still ahead of us,” she said.

The open show of affection was a welcome antidote for Macron. Earlier Saturday, the French leader had a somewhat awkward meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. As Air Force One landed in Paris on Friday night, Trump wrote on Twitter he had been “very” insulted by comments Macron made in the days before that he considered anti-American.

A century ago, the entry of U.S. troops into World War I tipped the momentum toward its allies, including France and Britain. Even as he embarked on two days of observances for the Nov. 11, 1918 armistice, Trump said the United States now bears far too much of the burden to defend the West.

A flurry of Armistice-related diplomacy once again turned Paris, the jewel that Germany sought to take in 1914 but which the Allies successfully fought to defend, into the center of global attention Saturday as dozens of world leaders arrived in the French capital on the eve of the solemn centennial commemorations.

A portrait of a soldier is displayed at the Armistice Museum in the Clairiere de Rethondes in Compiegne where the Germans signed the armistice in 1918 that ended the World War One, France, August 30, 2018. Picture taken August 30, 2018.  Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Merkel’s appearance in Compiegne marked how her nation’s bloodstained history with France has become a close alliance that is now the driving force behind the European Union.

In the four years of fighting, remembered for brutal trench warfare and the first use of gas, France, the British empire, Russia and the United States had the main armies opposing a German-led coalition that also included the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires.

Almost 10 million soldiers died. France lost 1.4 million and Germany 2 million.

Yet, despite a war that was supposed to end all wars, World War II pitted both sides against each other once again in 1940.

Across the line that once marked the Western Front, leaders lauded the courage of soldiers who were killed during the unprecedented slaughter, before converging on Paris for a dinner.

The armistice entered into force on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, and on Sunday 69 world leaders will commemorate the centennial of the event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, underneath the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris.

A view shows the table inside the replica of the wagon where the Germans signed the armistice in 1918 that ended the World War One at the Armistice Museum in the Clairiere de Rethondes in Compiegne, France, August 30, 2018.  Picture taken August 30, 2018.   Photo by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

At dawn Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Vimy Ridge, the battlefield in northern France where Canada found its sense of self when it defeated German opposition against the odds.

Standing amid the white headstones against an ashen sky, Trudeau addressed the fallen, saying what Canada has achieved in the past century has been “a history built on your sacrifice. You stand for the values on which Canada was built.”

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PM @Theresa_May and President @EmmanuelMacron laid a wreath of poppies and le bleuet at the Thiepval Memorial.

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In southern Belgium’s Mons, Canadians were also lauding George Price, the last Commonwealth soldier to die in the war when he was shot by a German sniper two minutes before the armistice took effect.

Trump was looking beyond the tragedy of death and destruction, asking in a tweet: “Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?”

After his meeting with Macron, Trump had been scheduled to head to the battlefield of Belleau Wood, 90 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of the capital, where U.S. troops had their breakthrough battle by stopping a German push for Paris shortly after entering the war in 1917.

The battle of Belleau Wood proved America’s mettle to allies and foes alike, and by the time the war ended U.S. forces were at least an equal to any of the other major armies, which were exhausted and depleted.

However, Trump canceled his visit because of bad weather and immediately came in for criticism.

“It’s incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary – and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow,” David Frum, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, tweeted,

The White House sent a delegation that included chief of staff John Kelly in Trump’s place. Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, said the White House should have had a fallback plan for the president.

“There is always a rain option. Always,” Rhodes said.

Trump is scheduled to visit a different U.S. cemetery close to Paris on Sunday.

John Leicester contributed.

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump dodges French rain as Macron and Merkel commemorate WW1 dead

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, an initial agreement to end four years of one of the world’s deadliest conflicts was signed by the Allies and Germany in a train carriage in a forest clearing in Compiègne , from where the two leaders on Saturday held a symbolic repeat signing ceremony.

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La tombe du Soldat inconnu sous l’Arc de Triomphe à Paris, le 7 novembre 2018, à quelques jours des commémoration de la Première Guerre mondiale.REUTERS/Charles Platiau

|AIWA! NO!|French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel marked on Saturday the centenary of the end of the First World War in a special ceremony at Compiègne, a commune in the Oise department in northern France.

Macron and Merkel lay wreath at WW1 armistice site
German chancellor Angela Merkel (2L) and French President Emmanuel Macron (2R) lay a wreath near Compiègne on Saturday. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, an initial agreement to end four years of one of the world’s deadliest conflicts was signed by the Allies and Germany in a train carriage in a forest clearing in Compiègne , from where the two leaders on Saturday held a symbolic repeat signing ceremony.

Merkel and Macron were then due to watch as the French and German militaries hold a joint march to remember the 1.4 million French and 2 million German soldiers killed in the 1914-1918 war. Meanwhile, on Sunday, after a solemn commemoration at the Arc de Triomphe to honor the armistice centenary, the US president, Donald, Trump is scheduled to visit an American cemetery at Suresnes, on the western outskirts of the capital, where he will make formal remarks.

Some 70 leaders will also gather at 11 am Sunday at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Earlier, on Saturday , US President Donald Trump, called off a trip to a World War I US military cemetery in France because of bad weather, the White House said.

After talks with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Trump cancelled his visit to Belleau Wood battlefield and cemetery 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Paris because of “scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather,” his administration said.

He and his wife Melania were to have flown to the site of a 1918 battle led by US Marines against German forces.

A US delegation led by Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford will visit the cemetery instead, the White House added.

The WWI commemorations come at a watershed moment for the liberal post-war order, with anti-immigration populists at the helm in the US and Brazil, sharing power in Italy, and making strong gains in Germany, prompting Merkel to announce she is bowing out in 2021.

Macron met British Prime Minister Theresa May near the Belgian border Friday to try to make progress on a Brexit deal and remember the fallen on the battlefields of the Somme.

Saudi Arabia Court Murder Investigation Chaos As New Claims Suggest Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder ‘Conducted Via Skype’

The Turkish government commented on the matter for the first time this week, saying, that the entire operation was savagely planned, and perhaps even conducted via Skype by Saud al-Qahtani, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s primary henchman.kh

|J. Dana Stuster, LAWFARE/AIWA! NO!|The U.S. State Department canceled the visas of 21 Saudi citizens believed to be involved in the plot to murder Jamal Khashoggi, and is discussing the possibility of sanctions with the Treasury Department, U.S. officials said last week.

Saudi handling of Khashoggi murder was 'a total fiasco', Trump says
US President Donald Trump scolded Saudi Arabia for journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and badly executed cover-up, calling it a “total fiasco from day one,” while still hedging on condemning the Saudi government//© Reuters / Leah Millis

The visa cancellations are the first substantive punitive measure taken by the United States in response to the murder of Khashoggi, who was a U.S. permanent resident and columnist for the Washington Post. Given that at least 18 of the individuals are under arrest in Saudi Arabia, the move is largely symbolic, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that additional steps may be forthcoming.

“These penalties will not be the last word on the matter from the United States,” he said on October 23.

“We’re making very clear that the United States does not tolerate this kind of ruthless action to silence Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence.”

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Saudi king, crown prince meet Khashoggi family

Members of Congress have discussed taking additional steps, including halting arms sales or U.S. logistical support for the Saudi intervention in Yemen, but no legislative action will be taken while Congress is out of session in the run-up to the midterm elections on November 6.

Turkish investigators are pulling out all stops in probing into the mysterious disappearance and death of Saudi-origin US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who died in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The Turkish government commented on the matter for the first time this week, saying, that the entire operation was savagely planned, and perhaps even conducted via Skype by Saud al-Qahtani, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s primary henchman. His direct involvement in the matter would make it harder for the Saudi administration to distance Salman from the operation.

Amidst this ruckus, Khashoggi’s body, presumably mutilated, dismembered and scattered for disposal, remains missing. The same goes for his belongings, at least until Wednesday, when a team of Turkish detectives reportedly searched a vehicle suspected to carry his belongings. Turkish state media said that investigators have found three suitcases, a laptop computer and clothing inside a car belonging to the Saudi consulate, stowed away in an underground garage.

Other countries have also called for action on arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi’s death. German officials have said they will not sell additional weapons to Riyadh under the circumstances, and Austria, which halted arms sales in 2015 in response to the Saudi intervention in Yemen, has called for the European Union as a whole to discontinue sales.

But some European leaders have expressed reluctance to jeopardize lucrative arms deals, echoing comments made by President Donald Trump. “I understand the connection with [arms sales and] what’s happening in Yemen, but there is no link with Mr. Khashoggi,” French President Emmanuel Macron said, also describing the advocacy for a ban as “pure demagoguery.” Canadian President Justin Trudeau has warned that the penalty for withdrawing from his country’s deal to sell light-armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia would be “in the billions of dollars.” And Spain has said it will continue to do business with Saudi Arabia to protect its shipbuilding industry.

Still, the pressure to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its human rights violations is unprecedented. There are signs that Saudi officials are recognizing that their strategy of deliberately and obviously lying about Khashoggi’s disappearance has backfired. The Saudi government conceded last week that Khashoggi’s death was a planned operation after Turkish intelligence reportedly shared an audio recording of his murder with CIA Director Gina Haspel; Saudi officials maintain, though, that the operation was carried out without the authorization of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). The Saudi government has also lifted the travel ban on Khashoggi’s son, Salah, a U.S.-Saudi dual citizen, allowing him to fly to the United States—but not before Salah was compelled to meet with MBS for a photo op.

The crown prince addressed Khashoggi’s death in public remarks for the first time last week, at his much-hyped Future Investment Initiative conference, which took place last week despite many American and European officials and business leaders canceling their appearances. Speaking on a panel with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, MBS called Khashoggi’s death “very painful, for all Saudis.” He said that Saudi investigators are working with Turkish authorities and that the two countries “are cooperating to punish any criminal, any culprit and at the end justice will prevail.”

Saud al-Mojeb, who is leading the Saudi investigation, is in Istanbul this week and metwith the chief investigator in Turkey on Monday; Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a press conference that “responsibility of Saudi Arabia is very large here” and stressed that the Saudis should not slow-walk the investigation. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has effectively denied a request from Turkey that the suspects in Khashoggi’s murder be extradited and struck a different tone than MBS. Speaking at a security conference in Bahrain over the weekend, Jubeir called the international outcry “fairly hysterical.”

MBS appeared jovial at the conference, and even concluded his remarks by joking that the press should not “spread rumors” that Hariri, sitting two chairs away on the stage, had been “kidnapped.” The quip suggests that MBS still does not grasp foreign governments’ frustration with the reckless bullying of his governance. Less than a year ago, MBS sparked a political crisis in Lebanon when he held Hariri against his will in Saudi Arabia and forced him to resign under duress. (Hariri withdrew his resignation when he returned to Lebanon after a diplomatic intervention by France, but he has remained on working terms with MBS, who is an important patron of Hariri’s family and political fortunes.) The comment’s direction at the media also felt barbed, given that the conference was occurring under the shadow of a journalist’s murder and in a country with severe limits on free speech and reporting. One of the Saudi government’s first reactions to Khashoggi’s death was to issue a statement reminding Saudi citizens and press that “spreading rumors or fake news that might affect public order and security is considered cybercrime punishable by 5-year imprisonment.” To MBS, this recklessness and authoritarianism is still a punchline.

Though MBS stressed the importance of proceeding with his economic reforms at the conference last week, Khashoggi’s death has interfered with those plans. Bloombergnoted that most of the attendees of the Future Investment Initiative forum were Saudis, and that more Chinese and Russian investors were present this year while American and European businesses stayed home. Some analysts have suggested that businesses dropped out of the conference for show and would be back to invest later, but others have noted that MBS’ reputation for impulsive and unpredictable policies had been deterring the investment he’s been courting long before Khashoggi disappeared. Michael Hirsh, writing in Foreign Policy, noted that foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia declined by 80 percent from 2016 to 2017. “Khashoggi’s killing at the hands of Mohammed bin Salman’s security forces—which the Saudis are now confessing was premeditated—has only brought international attention to a problem that close observers of Saudi Arabia had been aware of for more than a year,” Hirsh wrote. “The crown prince was making bad decisions and scaring a lot of influential and wealthy people away.” Karen Young, an insightful observer of the Saudi economy, argued in a recent piece for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog that this could have unfortunate consequences for the Saudi youth that stood to benefit from a more diverse Saudi economy, and that economic instability in the kingdom could spread, with the country’s skyrocketing sovereign debt as a conduit to foreign markets. With his credibility as a reformer in doubt, MBS is relying now more than ever on “checkbook diplomacy” to retain support from his regional allies and foreign countries eager to sell arms to Riyadh, Mohamad Bazzi wrote in the New York Times on Monday. “Since Prince Mohammed’s rise to power, the Saudis have pursued a more aggressive and militarized foreign policy, but they have also fallen back on a tactic honed over decades—wielding their oil wealth to buy loyalty in the Arab world and beyond,” he wrote.

The Saudi royal court is notoriously opaque, but there have been signs of fresh intrigue in the past week. King Salman has reportedly rallied to the defense of his son and hand-picked successor, even as close allies have expressed their concern about his continued rule. “People who think there’s going to be any change in the succession are wrong,” Prince Turki al-Faisal told the Washington Post’s David Ignatius last week. Prince Turki said that the backlash to Khashoggi’s death had actually strengthened MBS’ position. But even before this past month, MBS had reportedly been concerned about threats from rivals. Western officials have suggested to the Post that he could accept an arrangement to share power with another royal to placate critics. One option for that role would be Khalid bin Faisal, the former mayor of Mecca and a son of King Faisal, who governed in the 1960s and 1970s. Another would be Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, King Salman’s brother, who has reportedly been floated by some members of the royal family for some sort of stewardship role. Prince Ahmed has been living in self-imposed exile in England since being passed over for the role of crown prince; in September, in a clip posted online, he made a rare public appearance to address to a crowd of protesters in London, saying that policies including the war in Yemen are the fault of the current Saudi leadership but not the royal family as a whole. On Tuesday, rumors were circulating online that Prince Ahmed had unexpectedly returned to Riyadh from London.

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J. Dana Stuster is the deputy foreign policy editor for Lawfare and a PhD student at Yale University. He worked previously as a policy analyst at the National Security Network and an assistant editor at Foreign Policy magazine.

FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron Slams Belgium’s Purchase of US F-35 Jets ‘Against European Interests’


The United States and Russia are disputing the circumstances of an engagement between combat aircraft from both countries over Syria that almost resulted in a collision, the latest in what the U.S. military says are becoming a steady stream of unprofessional and dangerous aerial incidents

Belgium’s Purchase of US F-35 Jets ‘Against European Interests’ – Macron

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|Earlier in the day, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said that buying F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighters from the US was a more commercially viable option, as Paris had not yet decided the final price for its Rafale F3R aircraft.

“It’s a decision that was the result of a process which I greatly respect and which was linked to political constraints specific to Belgium, which are not for me to comment upon, but strategically it goes against European interests,” said Macron at a news conference held with Slovak President Andrej Kiska, adding that he regretted “the choice that was made.”

The French president addressed Belgium’s decision to buy the Lockheed Martin planes for 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in order to boost the kingdom’s air force.

READ MORE: Pentagon Declares F-35 Deployment in Europe Successful After 76 Sorties

In February, the F-35’s maker, Lockheed Martin, and British BAE Systems (Eurofighter Typhoon fighter) were the only bidders in a 3.6 billion euro ($4.1 billion) tender for 34 fighter jets to replace Belgium’s aging fleet of F-16s, as Boeing and the Swedish Saab had previously pulled out of the competition.

France, however, offered Brussels its own Rafale F3R fighter in exchange for “an in-depth and structural partnership” together with France and Germany, to develop a new generation of combat aircraft by 2040 as part of a European defense initiative.

World leaders gather at UN under threat from unilateralism

TOP OF THE AGENDA AT UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY – Conflicts in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Mali and Central African Republic as well as the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, aid for Palestinians, education for girls, modern slavery, environmental threats, efforts to end poverty, and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

According to reliable data from @TwitterData, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is one of the most tweeted about world leaders during the first day of the United Nations General Assembly meeting (18/19 September, 2017).

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — With rising unilateralism challenging its very existence, the United Nations convenes its annual meeting of world leaders Monday and will try once more to tackle problems together as a community of nations, addressing threats ranging from Mideast conflicts to the effects of global warming — and also encouraging the glimmer of hope over the nuclear standoff in North Korea.

This year, 133 world leaders have signed up to attend the General Assembly session, a significant increase from last year’s 114. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the expected large turnout “eloquent proof of the confidence of the international community in the United Nations,” though other U.N. officials and diplomats said it’s in response to growing concerns about an increasingly turbulent world.

The seven-year-old conflict in Syria and the three-year war in Yemen that has sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and is now seriously threatening large-scale famine will certainly be in the spotlight, along with meetings on other Mideast and African hot spots. So will Iran, which faces escalating hostile rhetoric from the Trump administration over its activities supporting international terrorism, which Tehran vehemently denies.

Guterres said last week that one of his overriding concerns in an increasingly globalized world is the threat to having the U.N.’s 193 member nations work together, which is the foundation of the United Nations.

“Multilateralism is under attack from many different directions precisely when we need it most,” the U.N. chief told reporters Thursday. “In different areas and for different reasons, the trust of people in their political establishments, the trust of states among each other, the trust of many people in international organizations has been eroded and … multilateralism has been in the fire.”

Guterres challenged diplomats at last week’s opening of the 73rd session of the General Assembly by saying: “At a time of fragmentation and polarization, the world needs this assembly to show the value of international cooperation.”

Whether it will be able to remains in question.

At this year’s gathering of presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and minsters, populist leaders will include U.S. President Donald Trump, President Andrzej Duda of Poland and Premier Giuseppe Conte of Italy along with the foreign ministers of Hungary and Austria.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters that Trump, who champions an “America First” policy, wants to talk about “protecting U.S. sovereignty,” and she reiterated Washington’s opposition to the 2015 Paris climate agreement on curbing global warming and a newly agreed international compact aimed at regulating migration.

“We really value sovereignty of the country,” Haley said. “It is not saying multilateralism can’t work, but it’s saying sovereignty is a priority over all of that, and we always have to make sure we’re doing that — and there are many countries that agree with us.”

Before stepping down as U.N. humanitarian chief Aug. 31, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein expressed serious concern that populism, intolerance and oppression are “becoming fashionable again.”

“It all builds, because once you start down the path of intolerance, it’s very difficult to stop it, unless at the end of the day you have conflict,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to be a key voice joining Guterres in the coming week in speaking out against this trend and supporting multilateralism as key to promoting peace.

The week’s activities kick off with a peace summit Monday morning honoring the 100th birthday this year of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. A statue of Mandela will be unveiled at U.N. headquarters and leaders are expected to adopt a declaration recognizing the years 2019-2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace.

Trump is hosting an event Monday on “The World Drug Problem” and Haley said 124 countries have signed a global call to action. Activists on drug policy note it was never negotiated, and one group, the Harm Reduction Coalition, called it “an instance of heavy-handed U.S. ‘with us or against us’ diplomacy.”

The increasingly strident U.S. rhetoric against Iran is expected to be a feature in U.S. speeches. Haley said that “every dangerous spot in the world — Iran seems to have its fingerprints in it,” which Tehran denies.

Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May and the foreign ministers of the five remaining powers who support the deal — Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — are expected to meet privately Monday evening with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The General Assembly’s “General Debate,” as the ministerial session is called, officially opens Tuesday with Guterres’ report on the state of the world, to be followed soon after by speeches from Trump, Macron and late in the morning by President Hassan Rouhani of Iran.

The U.S. holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council in September and has scheduled two ministerial meetings, the first on Wednesday presided over by Trump. It was initially to focus on Iran but has now been broadened to the topic of “nonproliferation” of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

“I’m sure that is going to be the most watched Security Council meeting ever,” Haley told reporters.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will preside over the second meeting Thursday on North Korea, an issue the Security Council was united on in imposing increasingly tough sanctions. But that unity now appears to be at risk over enforcement of sanctions and the broader issues of how to achieve denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and when sanctions should be lifted against North Korea.

Guterres welcomed the recent “positive meeting” in Pyongyang between the leaders of North and South Korea but warned that “there will not be success in intra-Korean negotiations if simultaneously there is not success in the American and North Korean” negotiations to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the United Nations has received 342 requests for meetings during the high-level week.

They include sessions on conflicts in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Mali and Central African Republic as well as the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, aid for Palestinians, education for girls, modern slavery, environmental threats, efforts to end poverty, and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Asked what are the big issues, Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told The Associated Press: “All of them are big issues — nonproliferation, cooperation, the world peace architecture — it’s every year, but this year it’s maybe more topical than ever.”

Uruguayan Ambassador Elbio Rosselli said the biggest issue for his country is multilateralism.

“It’s a vow that all of us ought to keep reinforcing particularly at this conjuncture where so many undercurrents and contrary views are surfacing on different scenarios,” he told AP. “The validity of this institution is more than ever necessary, and for that we need the recommitment of all states.”

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

 

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