Trump says Macron's call for European army 'very insulting'

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President Donald Trump began a weekend visit to Paris with an attack on his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, for proposing Europe create its own continental military force.

He added instead of building a military, Europe should first pay its fair share of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation costs noting the US pays far more than any other member.

FILE - French President Emmanuel Macron pays his respects with children at the Ossuary of Douaumont near Verdun, northeastern France, Nov. 6, 2018, during ceremonies marking the centenary of the end of World War I.

Macron told Europe 1 radio that the "main victim" of the U.S. withdrawal from the INF accord was Europe and its security.

Macron, in the interview, also blasted Trump's recent announcement that Washington would withdraw from the 1987 INF Treaty limiting nuclear weapons that U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to. Mr. Trump's visit comes on the heels of midterm elections in which Americans delivered a split referendum on his presidency, keeping the Senate in his party's control but ceding the House to opposition Democrats.

For Sunday's anniversary, Trump was to join world leaders at a ceremony in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe. Macron's office declined to comment on Trump's tweet.

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Trump, however, since taking office almost two years ago, has repeatedly questioned the mutual defense pact and harshly criticized European countries for failing to meet pledges of contributions of 2 percent of their gross domestic product to the alliance.

The magazine says "Germany has been keen on this mechanism, which keeps efforts at joint European defence within existing EU structures". Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both publicly questioned whether Europe can depend on the U.S.to come to its aid in the event of war. Early this year, Trump had hosted Macron on the first State Dinner of his Administration.

The row over European Union defence risks overshadowing commemorations to be attended by 70 world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Trump's tweet just after landing in Paris that was highly critical of Macron is expected to strain the US-French relationship.

"I've seen what they have planned, and I think it's going to be something very, very special".

Trump and Macron struck up a warm relationship initially, particularly during the USA leader's first visit to Paris, but have repeatedly clashed since then over a growing list of issues, including Trump pulling America out of the 2015 Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal. Although leaders like Mr Macron will not likely take kindly to the tone in the USA president's tweet. "And we look forward to that", Mr Trump told reporters before leaving the White House.

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