World Leaders React With Shock, Outrage and Calls for Solidarity After Paris Attacks

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French President Francois Hollande (C), flanked by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (L) and French Prime Minister manuel Valls (R) addresses reporters near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, early on November 14, 2015.
French President Francois Hollande (C), flanked by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (L) and French Prime Minister manuel Valls (R) addresses reporters near the Bataclan concert hall in centrCredit: AFP

World leaders responded with shock and pledges of solidarity for France following the killing of scores of people in attacks in Paris on Friday night, though there was little action any could immediately take.

Pope Francis on Saturday condemned the killings in Paris as unjustifiable "inhuman" acts that left him shaken and pained. 

"There is no justification for these things," he said in an extremely somber voice in a telephone call to an Italian Catholic television station. "This is not human," he said, adding that he was praying for the victims, their families and all the French people. 

The United Nations Security Council issued a statement condemning "barbaric and cowardly terrorist attacks" involving assailants using guns and bombs at several venues, including the national sports stadium and a concert hall.

Divided on many issues, including on the war in Syria that has fueled Islamist violence, the United States and Russia both voiced their support in messages to French President Francois Hollande.

"Once again we've seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians," said U.S. President Barack Obama. "We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need."

"Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong," Obama said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his deep condolences to Hollande and all the people of France following the "horrible terrorist attacks in Paris", the Kremlin said in a statement.

"Russia strongly condemns this inhumane killing and is ready to provide any and all assistance to investigate these terrorist crimes."

Turkey, which hosts the G20 summit of world leaders this weekend, condemned attacks as a crime against humanity, vowing full cooperation with France and its allies in the fight against terrorism.

"These attacks are not only against the French people but all humanity, democracy, freedoms and universal values," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office said. "Turkey is in full cooperation with France and other allied countries in the fight against terrorism ... and we will fight with full determination."

President Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Paris attacks on Twitter and sent condolences to his French counterpart and the French people.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani on Saturday cancelled a visit to Italy and France following deadly attacks in Paris, while the foreign minister decided to attend Vienna talks on Syria to address threats of extremism. In a statement carried by IRNA, Rohani condemned the Paris attacks as an "inhumane crime."

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told state television that he hopes that "in negotiation with other foreign ministers we can find ways to fight against Islamic State and extremism threats and stop incidents like this."  

The Western defense alliance NATO said it stood with France, a founder member. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, "I am deeply shocked by the horrific terrorist attacks across Paris tonight. My thoughts are with the families of the victims, with all those affected, and with the people of France.

"We stand strong and united in the fight against terrorism. Terrorism will never defeat democracy."

In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose foreign minister was attending a France-Germany soccer match with Hollande when the stadium was attacked, said, "I am deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris.

"The German government is in contact with the French government and has passed on a message of sympathy and solidarity from the German people."

British Prime Minister David Cameron said, "I am shocked by events in Paris tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help."

In Brussels the leaders of European Union institutions, which have been trying to coordinate security responses since the Islamist attacks in Paris in January, joined the chorus.

"I am confident the authorities and the French people will overcome this new trial," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

European Council President Donald Tusk said he was following events "with horror." 

China's President Xi Jinping told Hollande on Saturday that his country is ready to join France and the international community in stepping up security cooperation and combating terrorism.

In a telephone call to Hollande, Xi also condemned Friday's attacks, offering condolences to the victims and their families, according to comments published on the Chinese foreign ministry website.

Syrian President Bashar Assad chimed in on Saturday as well, saying that such acts of terror were similar to what his people had faced in years of violent civil war.

"What France suffered from savage terror is what the Syrian people have been enduring for over five years," the Syrian President was quoted as saying on state media and Lebanese TV station al Mayadeen.