Kerry to visit France, rebutts “quibbling” criticism of US

John Kerry said he would travel on Thursday and be in Paris for part of the day on Friday.

FILE: US Secretary of State John Kerry. Picture: AFP.

GANDHINAGAR, India - US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday he would travel to Paris this week to express solidarity with the victims of the Islamic militant attack on a satirical weekly newspaper.

Kerry, on a visit to India, rebutted as "quibbling" 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.

He said he would travel on Thursday and be in Paris for part of the day on Friday. 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," 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," Kerry said, in response to a reporter's question.

The US relationship with France was "not about one day, or one particular moment.

"It's an ongoing, long-time relationship that is deeply, deeply based in the shared values and particularly the commitment that we share to freedom of expression," said Kerry.