French armed forces leader resigns over budget cuts

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday accepted the resignation of the leader of his nation’s armed forces, in a dispute over military budget cuts, Reuters reported.

Gen. Pierre de Villiers, 60, said in a statement that financial constraints imposed by Macron were making it difficult to do his job.

“In the current circumstances I see myself as no longer able to guarantee the robust defense force I believe is necessary to guarantee the protection of France and the French people, today and tomorrow, and to sustain the aims of our country,” he said.

According to Reuters, Macron and de Villiers had argued fiercely over Macron’s move to slash 850 million euros (nearly $1 billion) in defense spending.

The Associated Press reported that the general strongly objected to Macron’s defense cuts last week during a parliamentary commission meeting, a setting that Macron said was not appropriate for the remarks.

The AP reported that Macron had initially pledged to increase defense spending to 2 percent of its gross domestic product by 2025 as part of the country’s commitment to NATO.

President Trump had criticized America’s NATO partners, saying many had not been paying their fair share in supporting the Western military alliance.

Trump met with Macron in France earlier this month.