Santos on Paris attacks: ‘Today all Colombians are French’

Memorial to victims of Paris attacks by Franck Schneider
Memorial to victims of Paris attacks by Franck Schneider

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Saturday, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos added his voice to the growing chorus of world leaders offering support to France and condemning the Paris terrorist attacks that left more than 120 people dead and injured at least 350.

“Today, all Colombians are French. We feel French, and we have an infinite solidarity with France,” he said outside of the French Embassy in Bogotá. “France has been at our side for our entire life as a republic. In every possible sense, they have been our allies.”

[quote cite=’Juan Manuel Santos’]“For everything that we can do to help in these difficult times, the French will have all Colombians at their service.”[/quote]

Santos had spoken with French President Francois Hollande just hours before the Friday attack to ask for France’s support in moving forward elements of the FARC peace process before the United Nations Security Council, of which France is a permanent member.

In his Saturday remarks, Santos also mentioned that he was looking forward to attending a global climate summit in France at the end of the month.

More than 100 world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, plan to attend the summit, which French officials said would continue as scheduled, albeit with heightened security.

That reunion of global heads of state would be important, Santos said, “because this attack was against the entire world.”

“We must all be united in the fight against terrorism,” he continued.

Dozens of world landmarks — including Bogotá’s Torre Colpatria — were illuminated with blue, white and red over the weekend to show solidarity with France.

As of Saturday, no Colombian casualties had been reported among the victims in Paris, according to a report by Semana. At least 17 Colombian families living in France had contacted the embassy to confirm that they were safe.

Most of the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks were killed at the Bataclan concert hall, where gunmen held more than 100 concertgoers hostage. There were several other separate attacks — including suicide bombings and multiple explosions outside of the Stade de France — as part of a coordinated effort, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Experts have not been able to independently confirm that ISIS planned or carried out the attack, however.

Several of the attackers are dead, but others remain unaccounted for, as of Sunday. Three of the terrorists have been identified as French nationals, according to Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins.

On Friday, President Hollande promised that France would strike back mercilessly against the terrorists. French airstrikes took out at least two ISIS sites in Raqqa, Syria on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

Watch President Santos’ remarks below (In Spanish)


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