U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday slammed his French counterpart's call for a unified European military to protect against worldwide threats. So far, however, the tensions have only built, with the US imposing new rounds of sanctions and vowing to pull out of a Cold War disarmament treaty.
The ceremony, to remember the millions who died in the war, including colonial troops fighting for European powers, had a deliberately global flavour.
But while both leaders flashed thumbs up signs as they met, their first task was to deal with a public spat.
"Through rain, hail, snow, mud, poisonous gas, bullets and more, they held the line and pushed onward to victory", Trump said.
President Trump joined French leader Emmanuel Macron on Sunday as almost 70 world leaders gathered in Paris to mark 100 years since the end of World War I. Millions of soldiers and civilians lost their lives in what became known as the Great War, and as many more were injured.
As for the re-imposed sanctions on Iran, the French source said that President Trump assured his French counterpart of the effectiveness of these sanctions.
The president cited a letter written by Sgt. Paul Maynard days before the war's final battle. Maynard wrote to his mother that if he survived the battle, he would appreciate home more than ever before, because it "will seem like heaven to me to be once more where there is peace and only peace".
Maynard died in the final hours of the fighting.
"I appreciate what you are saying about burden sharing".
In his speech Macron said "what is important for the future is the way this image will be interpreted": As the "symbol of durable peace between nations" or as "a picture of a last moment of unity before the world goes down in new disorder".
"It's fantastic. Thank you, thank you a million times".
Under a glass canopy at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, built by Emperor Napoleon in 1806, Trump, Merkel, Macron, Putin and the other leaders listened through earpieces as the French president spoke.
Trump later was attending a leaders' lunch hosted by Macron.
In a 20-minute address delivered beside the tomb of the unknown soldier, Macron described the "unimaginable hell" of those who fought in the trenches.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly branded himself a "nationalist", despite criticism from some that the term has negative connotations.
"The lesson of the Great War can not be that of resentment between peoples, nor should the past be forgotten", Macron said, alluding to the millions of women widowed and children orphaned by the conflict, as well as the millions of soldiers killed. Around him, former French soldiers stood rigidly to attention. Macron never meant that Europe had to protect itself from the USA, the official said. There will be a commemorative concert to mark the end of the war this evening, however there is no scheduled nationwide event.