Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Paris today to meet with French and American officials in the wake of Friday's deadly terror attacks there.
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As France mourns the loss of 129 people, killed in mass shootings and bombings in four locations across the city, Kerry brought a message of solidarity from its American ally during this unscheduled stop on his way back home from the summit of world leaders in Turkey.
“Secretary Kerry has landed in Paris, France, to meet with French officials, and embassy staff and families," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “He will reiterate America's commitment to our strong relationship with France and express our condolences as well as our shared resolve to continue countering violent extremism here and around the world.”
Kerry spoke to a small group of U.S. and French officials before a ceremonial lighting of the U.S. embassy in the French national colors of blue, white and red. He spoke directly to the French people, in French, saying "we will defeat Daesh and all who share their despicable ideology," referring to the terror group ISIS.
Kerry thanked the emergency response teams in Paris and mentioned the one American who died, Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old college student from California.
"Tonight, we are all Parisians," Kerry said.
President Obama, who was also in Turkey at the G-20 summit, said today that despite the attacks, he will not change to U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS. He said his critics who say more should be done often suggest “things that what we’re already doing.”
The only meaningful strategy shift would be to put a large American force on the ground in Syria, the president said. But he expressed clear reluctance to do that.
"And maybe part of the reason is because every few months I go to Walter Reed," Obama said in Antalya, Turkey, referring to the military medical center just outside Washington D.C. "And I see a 25-year-old kid that is paralyzed or has lost his limbs. And some of those are people I've ordered into battle. And so I can't afford to play some of the political games that others may."