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US President Obama to miss anti-terrorism unity rally in Paris

January 11, 2015, 8:13 UTC+3 PARIS

A day earlier, the US president paid a visit to the French Embassy in Washington, where he signed a book of condolences and spoke with French diplomats

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PARIS, January 11. /TASS/. US President Barack Obama will not be attending an anti-terrorism unity rally in Paris to commemorate victims of the recent terrorist attacks in the French capital, Agence France-Presse reported, but did not specify why the American leader would miss the event.

Speaking on Friday in Knoxville, Tennessee, Obama expressed his solidarity with people of France and said that the United States was ready to provide any possible assistance to France to help the country overcome the consequences of terrorist attacks in Paris.

A day earlier, the US president paid a visit to the French Embassy in Washington, where he signed a book of condolences and spoke with French diplomats.

A number of European leaders expressed their readiness to join the rally in protest against Islamist terrorists’ actions. Heads of state and government from Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland were among the politicians saying they would join the rally for the national unity on French President Francois Hollande’s invitation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will lead his country’s delegation at the march on Sunday, according to Saturday’s statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also announced their plans to come to the French capital. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko pledged to attend as well.

Hollande called the rally on Friday, three days after the terrorist attacks, which saw killed in Paris seventeen people, including 10 staff members of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, four hostages taken at a kosher supermarket, and three policemen. Several dozen people were injured.

On Wednesday morning, masked gunmen targeted an office of the Paris-based satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine, which had earlier published caricature images of the Prophet Muhammed. As a result of the shooting, 12 people were killed, including 10 staff members and two policemen. Another 11 people were wounded. This was the deadliest attack in France in half a century.

On Friday, a gunman took hostages at a kosher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris killing four of them. The gunman, later identified as Amedy Coulibaly, was killed by security forces.

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