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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Military parade ordered by Donald Trump is postponed

The request for the event came after Mr Trump was impressed by France's Bastille Day parade

Donald Trump watches as members of the 4th Foreign Regiment march the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris. CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP
Donald Trump watches as members of the 4th Foreign Regiment march the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris. CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP

A military parade ordered by US president Donald Trump for later this year has been postponed until at least 2019, a defence official said late on Thursday, following reports the cost had soared to over $90 million.

"The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honour America's military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I," said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning.

"We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019," he added.

When in February the White House announced the commander-in-chief's desire to hold a parade in Washington, the budget director said it would cost between $10 million and $30 million.

But a US official told AFP earlier on Thursday that the planning estimate had now gone as high as $92 million, though no final figure has been reached.

Mr Trump then tweeted on Friday:

The parade had been planned for the Veterans Day weekend, and was expected to include a large show of air power.

The request for the event came after Mr Trump was impressed by France's Bastille Day parade, where he was received with great fanfare by French president Emmanuel Macron in July 2017.

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US media were quick to highlight how the ballooning costs stood in contrast to his concern about the expense of conducting joint military exercises with South Korea.

"We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money," Mr Trump said in June after meeting the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

It later emerged that the drills cost about $14 million, a fraction of the price of a military parade.

The United States normally holds military parades to mark the end of a conflict, such as in 1991 when president George HW Bush held a National Victory Parade in Washington to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War.

Mr Trump's request was popular among many Americans but drew scorn from critics, who said it would be a waste of money and was akin to events organised by authoritarian regimes.

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