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John Kerry downplays Obama's absence, to visit Paris Thursday

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday downplayed criticism over the absence of high-ranking US representation at Sunday's Paris march and announced that he would be going there on Thursday to express solidarity with France in the wake of terror attacks.



Gandhinagar: US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday downplayed criticism over the absence of high-ranking US representation at Sunday's Paris march and announced that he would be going there on Thursday to express solidarity with France in the wake of terror attacks.

"As soon as I heard about the planned march in Paris held yesterday, I asked my team to figure out the earliest day I could travel to France. So I will travel there on Thursday and be there on Friday. I want to emphasise that we stand by France which is one of our oldest ally," he told a press conference here on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.

"Would have personally very much wanted to have been there but couldn't do so because I had commitments here and it is important to keep these kinds of commitments. That is why I am going there on my way of return," Kerry said.

Dismissing the criticism that no high-ranking US officials were present in the Paris anti-terror march, Kerry said, "I think that this is quibbling a little bit as our assistant secretary of state for Europe, Victoria Nuland, was in Paris at the march, as was the US ambassador to France and many embassy staffers."

Kerry said that his visit to France is to reaffirm US solidarity with is their oldest ally.

In the terror attacks in Paris last week -- on the office of Charli Hebdo, a satirical magazine, and another hostage crisis -- 17 people were killed.

Rally against terror organised in France was attended by millions of people as well as around 40 world leaders.

Demonstrations were also held in many other cities of the world.

Replying to a question on his forthcoming meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister, Kerry described it as a meeting to take stock of issues.

"We (US and Iran) are at a junction when most of issues are getting flushed out and understood. Our meeting will take stock and based on the discussion we have to instruct our teams to carry it forward," Kerry said.

From Zee News

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