Lack of top-level US official at Paris march raises some

By REUTERS
January 12, 2015 02:20

 
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WASHINGTON - The absence of President Barack Obama or any top members of his administration from a huge march in Paris on Sunday to honor victims of Islamist militant attacks raised eyebrows among some in the US media.

French President Francois Hollande and some 44 foreign dignitaries, including leaders from Germany, Italy, Britain, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, headed more than a million people in what commentators said was the largest crowd in Paris since its liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944.

Islamist militants killed 17 people, including journalists and police, in three days of attacks in the French capital last week.

The United States was represented at Sunday's march by its ambassador to France, Jane Hartley. But commentators on some US media outlets questioned why Obama did not attend or send a top administration official such as Vice President Joe Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry was in India for a previously scheduled visit. Attorney General Eric Holder met with European security counterparts in Paris to discuss ways to prevent violent extremism, but did not attend the march.

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