Vienna, Austria, January 15, 2015
This afternoon the representatives of 57 participating States in the Permanent Council of the OSCE adopted, by consensus, a Declaration condemning the terrorist attacks last week in Paris. The Declaration expresses an unwavering commitment to combat terrorism, uphold freedom of expression, and reject anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance.
The U.S. stands with the Government and people of France
The United States stands with the Government and people of France in condemning the terrorist attacks in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo offices and on a kosher supermarket. We stand united not only in mourning the loss of innocent lives – we stand united with our friends in our determination to defend and promote the fundamental freedoms that were under attack in Paris.
As Secretary Kerry stated, “Each and every American stands with you… not just in horror or in anger or in outrage for this vicious act of violence… we stand with you in solidarity and in commitment both to the cause of confronting extremism and in the cause which the extremists fear so much and which has always united our two countries: freedom.”
Secretary Kerry also stated that “free expression and a free press are core values, they are universal values; principles that can be attacked but never eradicated, because brave and decent people around the world will never give in to the intimidation and the terror that those seeking to destroy those values employ.”
The attacks in Paris were horrifically violent attacks on free expression, tolerance, and religious freedom
The attacks in Paris were horrifically violent attacks on free expression, tolerance, and religious freedom. Unfortunately, they are not the only recent attack in the OSCE space on these fundamental freedoms and on those who seek to exercise them. As OSCE participating States, we must recommit ourselves to upholding human rights, promoting tolerance, condemning and combating anti-Semitism and countering terrorism.
As President Obama stated, France and the great city of Paris “offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers.” The French people demonstrated this resolve when more than three million people of all faiths and backgrounds came out into the streets of Paris in a show of solidarity and in support of freedom of expression and tolerance.
The United States has been in close touch with the French government throughout this tragedy, and President Obama has directed the U.S. Government to provide any assistance needed by France to help bring the terrorists responsible for these attacks to justice. On January 12, the French Ambassador to the United States met at the White House with the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism to discuss ongoing U.S.-French cooperation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
The White House will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism
The White House also announced that it will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism on February 18 to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups to commit acts of violence. The terrorist attacks in Paris, as well as the recent attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, Sanaa, and Northern Nigeria, have made this effort even more imperative. We look forward to the participation of our international partners in the Summit, and we will report on key outcomes here in the OSCE.
We reiterate the sincere condolences of the United States to the people of France, a country that is our oldest ally. As President Obama stated, “the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been directly impacted. We grieve with you. We fight alongside you to uphold our values, the values that we share – universal values that bind us together as friends and as allies.”