U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a news conference on Thursday that he was visiting France to ''share a big hug with Paris'', after last week's extremist attacks. The U.S. has come under fire for not sending top dignitaries to Sunday's march. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE*~ ROUGH CUT (No reporter narration) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday (January 15) his upcoming visit to France was to share a "big hug" to Paris after attacks by Islamist gunmen on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The U.S had come under fire after neither U.S. President Barack Obama nor top U.S. officials attended the Charlie Hebdo march in Paris, attended by dozens of top foreign leaders and dignitaries. "My visit to France is basically to share a big hug with Paris and express the affection of the American people for France and for our friends there, who have been through a terrible time and I don't feel any other exigencies other than a continuation of our friendship and our responsibilities as good friends and the longest ally in our history and that is why I am going," Kerry told reporters at a news conference with the Bulgarian prime minister in Sofia, after being asked if he was going to Paris to make amends. Kerry was due to meet French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Friday (January 15) to offer Washington's support.