Obama visits French embassy after Charlie Hebdo attack

Obama visits French embassy after Charlie Hebdo attack

Friday, January 9, 2015 12:41 am

US President Barack Obama visited the French embassy in Washington on Thursday to honor the 12 victims of the Islamist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Obama, fresh from a trip to Phoenix, Arizona, signed a book of condolence at the embassy after Wednesday’s attack in the French capital that has sparked an ongoing manhunt for two suspected gunmen.

Obama: sympathises with France

Obama: sympathises with France

It was the second time in weeks that President Obama would side publicly with matters of liberty and freedom, the earlier one being the alleged North Korea cyber attack on Sony Pictures. Obama encouraged the Sony Pictures owners not to recoil against the threats of staging 9/11 attacks against the company, a message left by the hackers.

President Obama condemned the Paris gun attacks on Wednesday as “cowardly, evil”, pledging US assistance to Paris to bring the attackers to justice.

The US leader, speaking from the Oval Office, expressed solidarity with France and pledged that the attack on Charlie Hebdo would not squelch the right to free speech held dear by both nations.

“France is one of our oldest allies, our strongest allies,” Obama said.

“For us to see the kind of cowardly, evil attacks that took place today, I think, reinforces once again why it’s so important for us to stand in solidarity with them, just as they stand in solidarity with us.”

“The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom — of speech and freedom of the press,” he added.

“But the one thing that I’m very confident about is that the values that we share with the French people, a belief — a universal belief in the freedom of expression — is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.”

Obama pledged to offer “every bit of assistance” possible to the French as the investigation of Wednesday’s attack proceeds.

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