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Trump Concludes Two-Day French Visit by Attending Bastille Day Parade | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron stand during a welcome ceremony at Les Invalides in Paris on July 13. (AFP)

US President Donald Trump was the guest of honor on Friday as France celebrated its annual Bastille Day. The US leader was French President Emmanuel Marcon during the Champs Elysees parade in Paris.

The occasion also marked the 100th anniversary of the US entry into World War I.

The two men sat side by side with their wives, speaking animatedly as American and French warplanes roared above the Champs-Elysees.

The parade coupled traditional displays of military might with a look at wars past and present — and a nod to the US role in both.

Macron, in a speech near the end of the event, thanked the US for intervening in World War I and said the fact that Trump was at his side “is the sign of a friendship across the ages.

“And that is why I wish to thank them, thank the United States for the choice it made 100 years ago,” he said.

Macron also said that the US and France are firm friends and “this is why nothing will ever separate us.”

Five of the 145 US troops marching in Friday’s parade wore period World War I uniforms. Trump saluted the detachment as it passed. The US president didn’t make any remarks.

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

Also in the parade were French soldiers taking part in the mission against the ISIS terrorist group. France and the United States are among a coalition of nations fighting the extremist organization.

Shortly after his speech, Macron and Trump walked down from the tribune where they were sitting to stand in front of giant French and American flags that were unfurled by soldiers. The two mean shook hands and embraced, then clasping their hands together for a while before Trump was whisked away in his motorcade.

Trump is returning to the US, and Macron heads to the southern city of Nice, where last year an extremist plowed a truck into the holiday crowd, killing dozens. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack and others in France, including one just last month on the Champs Elysees that left only the attacker dead.

Instead of fireworks this year on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais seafront boulevard, there will be candles, a memory book and a solemn speech by Macron.

Two hours before the parade Friday, the famed Champs Elysees avenue was emptied as was the Place de la Concorde with its golden-tipped obelisk. The wide boulevard has been targeted repeatedly by extremists, most recently last month when a man crashed his car into a convoy of gendarmes.

Following his two-day visit, Trump tweeted: “It was a great honor to represent the United States at the magnificent #BastilleDay parade. Congratulations President @EmmanuelMacron!”

He 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.”

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 Macron seemed at odds with broader concerns about the transatlantic relationship since 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 yogurt sorbet, with one of the most celebrated views in the world as their backdrop.

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