Kerry offers 'big hug' to Paris after attacks

Updated: 2015-01-16 16:30


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Kerry offers 'big hug' to Paris after attacks

French President Francois Hollande (L) welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry before their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris January 16, 2015. Ceremonies continue to honour the memories of the 17 people who were killed in last week's attacks. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS - US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting top officials in France to express America's solidarity with the French people after last week's deadly terrorist attacks.

"I think you know that you have the full and heartfelt condolences of the American people and I know you know that we share the pain and the horror of everything that you went through," Kerry said as he greeted French President Francois Hollande Friday. "Our hearts are with you."

Kerry was seeing Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Friday morning before laying wreaths at the sites of the two attacks. Kerry, who said he was coming "to share a big hug with Paris," will then join the mayor of the city at an event that is to include a short performance by musician James Taylor.

Kerry's visit comes amid lingering criticism of the Obama administration's failure to send a cabinet-level official to Paris for last Sunday's unity march that attracted some 40 world leaders and more than a million demonstrators.

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