Amid criticism, Kerry headed to Paris

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Bring on the brokered convention 18 progressive groups sign unity pledge amid Sanders-Warren feud MORE will travel to France on Thursday and Friday, amid criticism that the Obama administration did not send a high-level representative to a Sunday solidarity march in Paris responding to two terrorist attacks.


The top diplomat defended the U.S.'s relationship with France at a news conference late Sunday.

"And I want to emphasize that the relationship with France is not about one day or one particular moment," he told reporters while in Gujarat, India. "It's an ongoing, long-time relationship that is deeply, deeply based in the shared values, and particularly the commitment that we share in freedom of expression."

Kerry pushed back on the criticism that the administration hadn't sent an appropriate delegation to the march. More than 1 million people marched in Paris, according to numerous reports.

Dozens of heads of state — including Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Germany's Angela Merkel — participated in the event. Though Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderParties to wage census battle with outside groups Welcome to third-world democracy and impeachment Uber settles sexual harassment charges for .4 million MORE was in Paris Sunday for terrorism talks, he did not walk with the marchers.

Kerry called the criticism of the administration "sort of quibbling a little bit." He noted that the American Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, had represented the U.S. at the march.

"And I don't think the people of France have any doubt about America's understanding of what happened, about our personal sense of loss, and our deep commitment to the people of France in this moment of trial," Kerry said.

France was wracked by attacks last week. First, gunmen killed 12 inside and near the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had angered extremists by publishing depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Then, as police closed in on the two brothers suspected in the attack, another man took hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris. All three suspects were killed, as were some of the hostages in the supermarket.