GANDHINAGAR, India (AFP/REUTERS) - United States Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Monday that he would travel to Paris later this week for talks with French officials after the deadly attacks by Islamist militants.
"I will be travelling there on Thursday and be there on Friday, part of Friday," Mr Kerry told reporters on a visit to India.
Mr Kerry said he wanted to be able "to show the connection between the United States and our oldest ally" in the wake of last week's killing of 17 people in attacks on a satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris. "The relationship with France is not about one day or one particular moment," said the top US diplomat.
"It's an ongoing... relationship that is deeply, deeply based on... shared values especially on the commitment to the freedom of expression," he added at a press conference in India's west coast state of Gujarat.
Mr Kerry rebutted as “quibbling” the criticism that the United States had not been represented by a more senior official at a million-strong remembrance march in the French capital on Sunday that was joined by world leaders.Seventeen people, among them journalists and police, were killed in three days of violence last week that started with a shooting attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly. “No single act of terror, no two people with AK-47s, no hostage taking at a grocery store, is ever going to prevent those who are committed to the march of freedom,” Mr Kerry told reporters.The Paris march was attended by the top US diplomat for Europe, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, and the US ambassador to France.
“We have offered, from the first moment, our intel, our law enforcement and all of our efforts, and I really think that, you know, this is sort of quibbling a little bit,” Mr Kerry said, in response to a reporter’s question.