History has been made in Paris. For the first time a German leader has taken part in Armistice Day commemorations marking the end of the First World War.
Chancellor Angela Merkel joined French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Arc de Triomphe to remember the millions who died. And, in a strong sign of their countries’ warm relations today, the pair jointly rekindled the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “The friendship between Germany and France is a treasure,” Sarkozy said. “We owe it to our ancestors who suffered so much to do everything to preserve this treasure and let it flourish. We also owe it to the people of Europe. We owe it to all the people of the world. When Germany and France propose something together, act together, Germany and France acomplish great things.” Sarkozy and Merkel were last together two days ago in the German capital, in events marking 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. For the Chancellor, there are clear parallels. “Both anniversaries – the end of the First World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall – remind us of the need to always defend priceless values: peace and freedom,” she said. This, Sarkozy has said, is the peace that the soldiers dreamed of at the bottom of their trenches.