‘Outrageous’, ‘despicable’: Paris attacks shock world leaders

  • Reuters, London
  • Updated: Nov 14, 2015 10:50 IST
US President Barack Obama looks down as he speaks to the press in Washington, DC after the deadly Paris attacks. (AFP)

World leaders responded with shock and pledges of solidarity for France following the killing of scores of people in attacks in Paris on Friday night, though there was little action any could immediately take.

The United Nations Security Council issued a statement condemning “barbaric and cowardly terrorist attacks” involving assailants using guns and bombs on several venues, including the national sports stadium and a major music venue.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the attacks, saying “the despicable terrorist attacks” in Paris.

Divided on many issues, including on the war in Syria that has fuelled Islamist violence, the United States and Russia both voiced their support in messages to French President Francois Hollande.

“Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” said US President Barack Obama. “We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need.”

“Those who think that they can terrorise the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong,” Obama said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his deep condolences to Hollande and all the people of France following the “horrible terrorist attacks in Paris”, the Kremlin said in a statement.

“Russia strongly condemns this inhumane killing and is ready to provide any and all assistance to investigate these terrorist crimes.”

Spectators gather on the pitch of the Stade de France stadium following the friendly football match between France and Germany in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on November 13, 2015, after a series of gun attacks occurred across Paris as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. (AFP)

In Janauary, an attack on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo left 12 people dead. A second siege ended with the deaths of four hostages.

The Western defence alliance NATO said it stood with France, a founder member. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, “I am deeply shocked by the horrific terrorist attacks across Paris tonight. My thoughts are with the families of the victims, with all those affected, and with the people of France.

“We stand strong and united in the fight against terrorism. Terrorism will never defeat democracy.”

In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose foreign minister was attending a France-Germany soccer match with Hollande when the stadium was attacked, said, “I am deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris.

“The German government is in contact with the French government and has passed on a message of sympathy and solidarity from the German people.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “I am shocked by events in Paris tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently visiting UK, condemned the deadly attacks in France capital Paris, and said the tragedy is anguishing and dreadful.

“News from Paris is anguishing and dreadful. Prayers with families of the deceased. We are united with people of France in this tragic hour,” Modi said in a tweet.

President Pranab Mukherjee also condemned the attack. “Strongly condemn terrorist attacks in Paris. India stands firmly with France, my heart goes out to its people,” he said in a tweet.

In Brussels the leaders of European Union institutions, which have been trying to coordinate security responses since the Islamist attacks in Paris in January, joined the chorus.

“I am confident the authorities and the French people will overcome this new trial,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

European Council President Donald Tusk said he was following events “with horror”.

(With AP inputs)


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