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World leaders mark end of World War I anniversary in Paris

World leaders are in the French capital, Paris, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War l.

The armistice was signed between France and Britain on the one side and Germany on the other on November 11, 1918. It ended more than four years of fighting.

The Paris commemorations, centered on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe, are set to feature warnings about the modern-day dangers of nationalism.

​Workers prepare stands as floral tributes lie beside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 10, 2018, ahead of a ceremony to mark marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. (Photo by AFP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will give the opening address alongside United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres at a conference called the Paris Peace Forum, which will take place after a memorial service on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday morning.

Convened 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.

“We want to make these commemorations a time to reflect on the present, not just the past, so that they have a meaning for us today,” an aide to Macron said earlier this week.

“This day is not just about remembering, but should be about a call to action,” Merkel said on Saturday after visiting the forest clearing in northeastern France where the armistice was signed a century ago.

Other attendees of the memorial service and the Forum include Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


A separate armistice between Britain and Turkey, also signed in 1918, resulted in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II will attend a separate event in London.

Other ceremonies marking the event will also be held in New Zealand, Australia, and India, among other places.

About 70 current-day countries were involved in WWI, which saw six former superpowers at its heart: Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire.

Millions of troops from former British colonies in Asia and Africa were deployed under British command 100 years ago to take part in the war.

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 as well.

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