World leaders to descend on France for WWI commemorations - Emirates24|7

World leaders to descend on France for WWI commemorations

Photo: AFP

France kicks off a week of World War I commemorations from Sunday, with some 80 leaders from around the globe preparing to fly in for a ceremony marking a century since the guns fell silent.

French President Emmanuel Macron will play host to leaders including US President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

He will also be criss-crossing northern France, visiting the battlefields where hundreds of thousands of men lost their lives in the trenches.

The commemorations will culminate in a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 11 attended by dozens of leaders including Trump, Putin and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, 100 years to the day since the armistice.

Remembrance events begin on Sunday, November 3 with a concert celebrating friendship between former wartime enemies France and Germany in the border city of Strasbourg, attended by Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Macron will then spend the week visiting the Western Front battlefields, from Verdun to the Somme.

On Tuesday, in honour of the "black army" of former colonial troops who fought alongside the French, he and Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita will visit Reims, a city defended by the African soldiers.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May will join Macron on the Somme on Friday, while on Saturday he heads to the village of Rethondes, where the armistice was signed, with Merkel.

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