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U.N. Chief Delivers Condolences After Charlie Hebdo Attack

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 9 2015 (IPS) - On Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his condolences to the French people concerning the massacre of 12 people by two gunmen at the Parisian office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The attack, which was France’s deadliest terror attack in fifty years, killed 10 media workers and two police officers. The magazine’s offices were firebombed by a Molotov cocktail in 2011, but no one was killed on that occasion.

“I am relieved that these terrorists have been killed by the authorities of the French government,” said Ban, speaking in New York, at the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations, where he signed a book of condolences.

In clarification of this statement, Deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq told IPS in an email: “He was relieved that the armed standoff was resolved without any further casualties (given the number of hostages). His preference would have been for the suspects to be brought to justice peacefully; but in the absence of that, he was relieved no further civilians were killed.”

The Secretary-General emphasized the fact that this “purely unacceptable terrorist attack must be brought to justice, in the name of humanity.”

He added that he is urging people around the world to enhance the level of tolerance and respect for the belief, religion and tradition of others: “Whatever the grievances may be, then all these differences of views should be addressed in a peaceful manner through dialogue. There is nothing which we cannot resolve – the differences of opinion – through dialogue.”

Ban concluded the statement by sending his strong support to the “courageous people of France” and especially to the media: “It is important that freedom of speech, freedom of media, opinion should be protected.”

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