Paris shooting: As world leaders march in Paris, United States represented by ambassador

Members of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine looking on as Luz (third from left) touches the cheek of Dr Patrice Pelloux at the “Marche Republicaine”. -- PHOTO: AFP
Members of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine looking on as Luz (third from left) touches the cheek of Dr Patrice Pelloux at the “Marche Republicaine”. -- PHOTO: AFP
A woman holding up a pencil and her phone displaying pictures of the victims of an attack on a kosher supermarket at Porte de Vincennes near Paris, during a rally in Tel Aviv, on Jan 11, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A woman wera pencils in her hair at the old harbour in Marseille, southern France,. -- PHOTO: AFP
The “Marche Republicaine” at the Place de la Republique (Republique's square) in Paris. -- PHOTO: AFP
People visiting a makeshift memorial near the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo at the end of the "Marche Republicaine". -- PHOTO: AFP
Spoof Charlie Hebdo front pages titled "L'amour plus fort que la haine" (Love Stronger Than Hatred) were held up in Paris, France, on Jan 11, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
A man holding a placard that reads"Je suis Charlie" (I am Charlie) during the “Marche Republicaine”. -- PHOTO: AFP
A woman at a rally in Hanover, central Germany. -- PHOTO: AFP
Police snipers overseeing the "Marche Republicaine". -- PHOTO: AFP
Turkish journalists holding pictures of the late French cartoonists on Istiklal avenue in front of the French consulate during a rally organised by Turkish journalists on Jan 11, 2015, in Istanbul. -- PHOTO: AFP
A girl holding a sign that reads "Nous sommes tous Charlie" (We are all Charlie) during the "Marche Republicaine" on Jan 11, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
People gathering to express solidarity for the victims of the attack on the French satirical magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' on the Opernplace in Hanover, Germany, on Jan 11,2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
Thousands gathering at the Place de la Nation finishing point of a march to honour the victims of the terrorist attacks. -- PHOTO: EPA
A man placing a rose as people gather to take part in the “Marche Republicaine”. -- PHOTO: AFP
A makeshift memorial for French policeman Ahmed Merabet near the site where he was shot dead by gunmen close to the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo at the end of the unity rally "Marche Republicaine". -- PHOTO: AFP
World leaders including (from left) EU Commission Jean Claude Juncker, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah of Jordan and Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga at the start of a march march to honour victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, on Jan 11, 2015. -- PHOTO: EPA
 French President Francois Hollande (centre) welcomes the Interior Ministers Jorge Fernandez Diaz of Spain (second from left), Bernard Cazeneuve of France (third from left), and US Attorney General Eric Holder (fourth from left), British Home Secretary Teresa May (second from right) and European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos (right) at the Elysee Palace before they participate in a march to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks and to show unity, in Paris on Sunday. Holder did not take part later in the unity march, however, as the US was represented only by its ambassador, Jane Hartley. -- PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (AFP) - Sunday's massive march in Paris against terrorism drew dozens of world leaders in a show of unity - except from the United States, which was represented by its ambassador.

US Attorney General Eric Holder, who was in Paris Sunday to attend a meeting of interior and justice ministers discussing measures to combat terror attacks, was meant to have participated in the rally according to the White House on Saturday, but did not do so, the US embassy in Paris confirmed.

The embassy did not say why Holder did not attend the march. It said the United States was represented in the huge rally by its ambassador to France, Jane Hartley.

Holder, who was protected while in France by a detail of FBI officers, said after the ministers' meeting that US President Barack Obama wanted to hold a summit of allied leaders in Washington on February 18 to "discuss ways in which we can counteract this violent extremism that exists around the world".

He also expressed sympathy with France for the three days of carnage it suffered at the hands of three Islamist gunmen, saying: "On this day, we are all French citizens. I am a citizen of France, and we stand in solidarity with the French people."

Other interior and justice ministers at the meeting, from 11 EU countries, went on to attend the Paris march.

Some observers questioned why the US presence was outranked by so many other countries in the demonstration, which also championed the principle of freedom of expression after Wednesday's massacre in Paris at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

A CNN presenter, Jake Tapper, noted that Jordan, a close Muslim ally of the US, was represented by its king.

"I don't mean this as a criticism of the Obama administration, but as an American, I do wish that we were better represented in this beautiful procession of world leaders," Tapper was quoted as saying.

Obama himself had said in Washington on Friday, after French commandos killed the three Islamists and freed the hostages they had been holding: "I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow."

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