US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday turned down all the criticism that no top American officials attended the massive march called on Sunday against the recent terror attack in Paris and called the act as “quibbling”.
“I would have personally very much wanted to have been in Paris, but couldn’t do so because of the prior commitment as it is important to keep these kinds of commitments on bilateral and multi-lateral levels,” said Kerry, who was on a visit to Indian city of Ahmedabad for the 2015 edition of Gujarat Summit.
While addressing a press conference at the international investment summit on Sunday, Kerry announced his plans to make a visit to the French capital later this week over the recent terror incidents there and chalk out strategy to counter Islamist violence and violent terrorism.
The US secretary of state on Sunday made a long-scheduled appearance in India during the international investment summit, which witnessed a huge August gathering from across the globe, ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to the Asian country later this month as the chief guest for their Republic Day celebrations.
When Kerry was asked about why the Obama administration failed to send a high-ranking government official to participate in the march, he said, “I really think that this is sort of quibbling a little bit in the sense that our Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was there and marched, our ambassador [to France Jane Hartley] was there and marched, many people from the embassy were there and marched.”
Kerry also underscored that the US government officials, including President Barack Obama and himself, had been “deeply engaged” with their French counterparts since the time when the country witnessed its first attack on Wednesday. The US had also offered intelligence assistance to the French authorities immediately after the terror incident took place, according to Kerry.
Among the other world leaders who failed to book their presence in person at the Sunday’s march included French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
US Attorney General Eric Holder, who was in Paris for several meetings over counter-terrorism, also did not take part in the marh.