France - United States

Kerry in Paris apologises for absence from Charlie Hebdo march

French President Francois Hollande embraces U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry upon Kerry's arrival at Elysee Palace in Paris, 16 January 2015.
French President Francois Hollande embraces U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry upon Kerry's arrival at Elysee Palace in Paris, 16 January 2015. Reuters/Rick Wilking

On a visit to Paris on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry hugged French President François Hollande in a gesture of apology for not sending US top-level representative to last Sunday's Charlie Hebdo solidarity march. 

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"Our hearts are with you. I know you know that we share the pain and the horror of everything that you went through," said Kerry at the Elysee Palace on Friday in a will to apologise for the absence of top American officials at last Sunday's march following the Islamist attacks that left 17 dead in Paris.

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

"We must therefore together find the necessary response," said Hollande.

After criticism in France, the White House admitted it was a mistake to only send its ambassador to Sunday's huge march when most countries were represented with a head of state or a minister. 

"Honestly, it’s too late for a big hug, although John Kerry is probably the person who is most credible to do it," political scientist and US specialist Nicole Bacharantold RFI. "There was a necessity to be there on Sunday and no representative of the U.S. administration was there, that’s it!" 

"Behind that, we are in such a tragic situation worldwide and the threat is so high that even if feathers were ruffled, people are going to work together across the Atlantic very closely," she added.

Kerry and French foreign minister Laurent Fabius laid wreaths outside the Jewish supermarket and the Charlie Hebdo offices.

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