Buhari, world leaders to mark a century since end of WWI

by Stella Igwe-Adesoga
3 minutes read
No fewer than 70 world leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, U.S President Donald Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, and Germany’s Angela Merkel, are due to attend the main centenary ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.


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, where Merkel has announced her resignation in 2021 after a series of electoral setbacks.

The ceremony will mark the very hour — 11 am on November 11, 1918 — when the guns fell silent after more than four years of slaughter on the Western Front.

Some 10,000 police have been drafted in to ensure maximum security in a city repeatedly targeted by jihadist.

The memorial is doubly symbolic as Adolf Hitler forced the French to return to it on June 22, 1940 to sign their own surrender at the start of World War II.

Macron, a centrist advocate of open borders and multilateralism, has repeatedly invoked the war in recent weeks to hammer home his message that rising nationalism is again destabilising the world.

Conceived by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Forum is intended to highlight the importance of international institutions in helping resolve conflicts, avert wars and spread prosperity.

Around 10 million soldiers are generally estimated to have been killed during the fighting and more than double that number wounded overall.

Between five and 10 million civilians are estimated to have been killed.

In Britain, church bells are set to ring out across the country at 11 am, at the same time as a national remembrance service at the Cenotaph in London.

The German chancellor will be first to speak Sunday afternoon at a Forum for Peace which Macron hopes will help foster multilateralism. Putin is expected to attend, Trump is not.



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