US says should have sent higher-ranking envoy to Paris march

12th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

The White House admitted Monday it should have sent a higher-ranking representative to the massive weekend march against terrorism in Paris, which was attended by many world leaders.

"We should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. Washington was represented at the event by the US ambassador to France, Jane Hartley.

Earnest said President Barack Obama would have liked to have gone himself, but suggested that the security requirements and short planning time had prevented it.

"The security requirements around a presidential level visitor or even a vice president level visitor are onerous and significant," he said. "In a situation like this they have a pretty significant impact on the other citizens who are trying to participate in a large public event like this."

About 1.5 million people flooded the streets of the French capital Sunday to memorialize the 17 people killed in attacks in Paris that began last week with a massacre at a satirical weekly and ended with a hostage standoff at a kosher grocery.

French President Francois Hollande was joined at the march by 50 world leaders, including the Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president, in a display of unity that made headlines worldwide.

Despite the relatively low-level US representation, Earnest said, "there should not be and is not any doubt in the minds of the people in France or people around the world and certainly not among our enemies about how committed to a strong relationship that the United States is with France."

© 2015 AFP

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