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Thursday 22 August 2019

Barack Obama leads world response to 'outrageous' Paris attacks

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the attacks in Paris. (AP)
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the attacks in Paris. (AP)

Barack Obama has led world condemnation of the terror attacks in Paris, calling them an "outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians" and vowing to do whatever it takes to help bring the perpetrators to justice.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, the US president said he would not speculate about who was responsible.

He called the attacks a "heartbreaking situation" and an "attack on all of humanity".

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon hit out at "the despicable terrorist attacks".

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Mr Ban "trusts that the French authorities will do all in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly".

The UN Security Council also condemned "the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attacks", and underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of "these terrorist acts to justice".

Angela Merkel said she was "deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris".

The German chancellor issued a statement saying her thoughts were with the victims "of the apparent terrorist attack".

The Vatican also condemned the assault as "an attack on peace for all humanity".

Spokesman the Rev Federico Lombardi said in a statement that the violence requires "a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all of its forms".

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement: "Israel stands shoulder-to-shoulder with French president Francois Hollande and with the people of France in our common battle against terrorism."

In the Middle East, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani sent a message to Mr Hollande condemning the terror attacks.

The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Mr Rouhani as saying that Iran "itself has been a victim of the scourge of terrorism" and the fight must go on.

Mr Rouhani cancelled visits to France and Italy, due in a few days. France was one of the world powers involved in recent negotiations with the Islamic republic over its contested nuclear programme.

Hossein Jaber Ansari, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, was quoted by IRNA as saying: "Those terrorist groups that committed the Paris crimes do not believe in ethical principles and they are not loyal to any type of divine religions - including Islam."

Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi conveyed condolences to the victims.

A statement from his office called for "concerted international efforts" to combat "the scourge of terrorism, which aims to destabilise security and stability in various parts of the world, without distinction".

Jordan's King Abdullah II "expressed strong condemnation and indignation at the cowardly terrorist act", and solidarity with the French people, in a statement published by state news agency Petra.

In the United Arab Emirates, the state-run WAM news agency said president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a telegram to Mr Hollande offering his condolences and pledging support for France. WAM said Mr al Nahyan also supported doing "what it takes to face terrorism and eliminate it".

The ruler of Kuwait, emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, said in a statement that he offered his condolences, while stressing that "these criminal acts of terrorism ... run counter to all teachings of holy faith and humanitarian values".

In Saudi Arabia, the state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry official denouncing the attack.

US secretary of state John Kerry described the attacks as "heinous, evil and vile", calling them "an assault on our common humanity".

Mr Kerry said the US embassy in Paris is "making every effort to account for the welfare of American citizens in the city", and the US stands ready "to provide whatever support the French government may require".

US defence secretary Ash Carter called the attacks "an assault on our common human dignity".

The Pentagon chief said: "The United States stands with the people of France and its vibrant, multicultural democracy."

He praised France as a Nato ally and a leader of the coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Syria.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said: "Our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to our French cousins in this dark and terrible time."

He said Canada had offered "all of our help and support to the government of France".

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei says Beijing was "deeply shocked" by the attacks and pledged solidarity with France in combating terrorism.

"Terrorism is a common challenge facing humanity. China resolutely supports France in maintaining its national security and stability and in attacking terrorism," Mr Hong said.

Japan's foreign minister Fumio Kishida says he was "deeply shocked and outraged" by the news.

Speaking to reporters in Hiroshima, he said Japan stands by France, promising to co-operate in the international fight against terrorism.

"We strongly condemn the act of terrorism, which we do not tolerate for any reason," he said, expressing condolences to the victims and their families.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey shares the pain felt by France, as a nation that has suffered terror attacks.

The Turkish leader, who is scheduled to host Mr Hollande and other G20 leaders at a summit on Sunday, said the attacks were aimed at the two countries' "peace and security", and called for unity against all terror groups.

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull extended Australia's deep sympathy to the people of France.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this terrible time," Mr Turnbull said in a statement from Berlin. "But our solidarity is with them too. When the French people left the stadium after that shocking attack, they were not cowed. They sang their national anthem proudly and that is how all free people should respond to these assaults.

"In France, and Australia, all around the world, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of France and with all free peoples in the battle against terrorism."

The Australian government said a 19-year-old Australian woman had been injured in the attacks.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani said in a tweet to Mr Hollande: "I sympathise with you and your people; Afghanistan stands with France with resolve to tackle terrorism as a common enemy."

A statement from Mr Ghani's office quoted him as saying: "The brutal attacks in Paris prove that global terrorism does not recognise borders.

"Afghan people have for many years been the victims of terrorist attacks. They feel the pain of Parisians, and share the grief of the victims' families. The people of Afghanistan stand with France on this terrible day. Terrorism is a serious threat to the entire world and we are united in the struggle."

In a telegram to Mr Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attacks were "the latest testimonial to the barbaric essence of terrorism which throws down a challenge to human civilisation".

"It's obvious that an effective fight against this evil demands a real unity of the forces of the international community. I would like to confirm the readiness of Russia for the closest co-operation with our French partners in investigating the crime that took place in Paris.

"In this difficult time for France, I ask you to pass along words of sincere sympathy and support to the relatives and those near to those who were killed and wishes for a fast recovery to all those who were hurt at the hands of extremists."

Pakistan said it "strongly" condemns the Paris attacks and "reiterates its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations".

"The people and government of Pakistan wish to convey their heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to the bereaved families and the people and government of France. We stand with them in their hour of grief. We pray for speedy recovery of the injured," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has called a meeting of his National Security Council to "analyse the situation in the wake of the Paris attacks".

Mr Rajoy said: "We aren't facing a war of religions, but a battle between civilisation and barbarism. They may hurt us, but they can't beat us."

Speaking during a special television appearance, he said Spain was on high alert and its forces had in the past few weeks stopped several terror attacks.

He added: "We are at France's side not just in its pain but also in its fight against those who have caused it."

Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom talked about the "horrible news", while her Danish counterpart, Kristian Jensen, said "terrorists must be defeated. They cannot break democracies that stand together".

Finnish prime minister Juha Sipila said: "We must not give space for fear and intolerance."

After laying flowers outside the French embassy, Danish prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said: "The perpetrators must be pursued and defeated. We will never give up."

Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf said he was "shocked", adding: "It is important that we stand together against this unimaginable terrorism."

Denmark's government ordered flags on official buildings lowered to half-mast as a sign of solidarity.

The president of the International Olympic Committee said the attacks were "an attack on humanity and all humanitarian and Olympic values".

Thomas Bach added: "Today all people of goodwill will say, we are all French."

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, on a visit to the UK, condemned "the barbaric terrorist attacks in Paris in the strongest terms".

"More than a hundred people lost their lives while they were doing what they loved, or spending time with their loved ones," Mr Modi said in a statement.

"We feel the shock, pain and outrage of the people of France. India stands firmly with the great people of France in dealing with this tragedy. And we must stand together as humanity in combating the major global threat of our times and to uphold our values and our way of life."

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said his government is boosting border controls and will take "visible and invisible" measures to increase security.

Mr Rutte added: "Violence and extremism will never triumph over freedom and humanity."

Offering his condolences to the relatives and all French people, Slovakian president Andrej Kiska said he was shocked and angered by the attacks.

"The terrorists again murdered people in Paris to spread fear and hatred among us in Europe. To spread evil and chaos. After such a hard night, Europe needs even more unity and needs to take a real action. Terrorism never destroys democracy and freedom in Europe if we are able to defend our values, altogether and resolutely."

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi condemned the "barbarous acts" in Paris as he arrived at the Elysee Palace for a previously scheduled meeting with Mr Hollande.

Mr Essebsi called on "all freedom-loving peoples to co-ordinate their efforts against evil" and said: "Every country must feel concerned."

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