Defiant chiefs vow to act against terror

The blue, white and red colours of France's national flag were projected onto the Sydney Opera House yesterday, in a show of Australian solidarity with the French. It was one of several global landmarks similarly lit up. Rescuers evacuating people fo
Rescuers evacuating people following an attack in the 10th arrondissement of Paris last Friday night. Multiple shootings and explosions killed at least 128 people across the French capital.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
The blue, white and red colours of France's national flag were projected onto the Sydney Opera House yesterday, in a show of Australian solidarity with the French. It was one of several global landmarks similarly lit up. Rescuers evacuating people fo
The blue, white and red colours of France's national flag were projected onto the Sydney Opera House yesterday, in a show of Australian solidarity with the French. It was one of several global landmarks similarly lit up.PHOTO: REUTERS

Outpouring of grief over horrific Paris attacks comes with expressions of solidarity, resolve

There was an outpouring of grief and support yesterday as a shocked world learnt of the horrifying terror attacks in Paris - but it came mixed with a dose of resolve and defiance.

In the immediate aftermath of Friday's attacks that killed at least 128 people, world leaders did not just extend their sympathies, they also pledged to act.

A sombre President Barack Obama told reporters at the White House that the United States will do whatever it takes to bring those responsible to justice.

"This is an attack not just on Paris, it is an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share," he said, just hours after news first emerged of the tragedy.

"We are going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice, and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people."

ATTACK ON HUMANITY

This is an attack not just on Paris, it is an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, speaking just hours after news first emerged of the attacks

Similar expressions of solidarity came from Britain, Russia and China, among others.

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: "I am shocked by events in Paris tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a telegram to his French counterpart Francois Hollande, said Friday's attacks have "become another testimony of terrorism's barbarity, which poses a challenge to human civilisation".

In a phone call with Mr Hollande, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China was ready to join France and the international community in stepping up security cooperation and combating terrorism.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, leader of the country with the world's most populous Muslim population, which has borne the brunt of similar attacks, said terrorism, "for whatever reason", should not be tolerated, while Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called for unity in the war against terror.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed shock, and said the attacks made a planned discussion about terrorism at the Group of 20 meeting, due to begin today, "more relevant and urgent than ever".

The attacks were similarly condemned by several leaders in the Middle East, including in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is due to attend a global climate summit in France at the end of the month, condemned the savagery of the attacks, but also cancelled his trip to Paris.

While questions remain over the identity of the culprits and whether the plans involve Paris alone, other cities are not taking any chances and are ramping up security.

In the United States, the authorities in New York and Boston said they were boosting security, but also stressed that they did not have any intelligence of a credible threat.

The Philippine capital Manila, meanwhile, pledged tighter security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this Saturday.

"Our security establishment... will be taking the necessary steps to fine-tune as necessary our plans and our contingency plans," said President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Abigail Valte. "We are committed to ensuring the safety of our visitors and our people," she added.

Mr Obama, Mr Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are among leaders from 20 Asia-Pacific economies expected at the summit.

Several global landmarks, including the spire of One World Trade Centre in New York - built on the site of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks - were lit in the French colours of blue, white and red in a show of solidarity with the country.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2015, with the headline 'Defiant chiefs vow to act against terror'. Print Edition | Subscribe