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French envoy excited to see Pope Francis

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - In the wake of terrorist attacks in his country last week, France’s top diplomat in the Philippines is looking forward to seeing Pope Francis for the first time, saying it will be an experience he will never forget during his posting in a predominantly Catholic country.

French Ambassador Gilles Garachon said on Wednesday that he and his colleagues in the diplomatic corps are excited to see the very charismatic pope during a meeting this morning in Malacañang.

“I do not think we will have the chance to exchange words with him but this is the chance to meet the pope. We are looking forward to seeing him. He seems to have a lot of charisma,” Garachon said.

“I am very happy that it happens in the Philippines because being in a Roman Catholic country, the dimension is very different. It is a huge dimension and I think it will be very, very interesting,” Garachon said.

He said France is at war with extremism and terrorism – but not with Muslims.

Meantime, the French embassy in Manila led Wednesday night ceremonies to pay tribute to the victims of last week’s attacks in Paris.

Garachon led in paying respects for the victims during a ceremony at the Alliance Française de Manille in Makati City. Diplomats, Philippine officials, the French community, journalists and private individuals attended the tribute, taking a united stance in the protection of freedom of expression.

“The first thing that I would like to tell you is that we are all Charlie. Charlie, as you know, is the magazine, and we are all the children of the cartoonists. It teaches us the importance of the freedom of speech, the importance of freedom,” Garachon said.

“This is an absolutely free magazine – all opinions could be expressed. This is the core of democracy, and this is why those who want us to be silenced hit this magazine. They wanted silence to prevail,” he said.

“Those people wanted to bring us to our knees, but they brought us to our feet. The best answer is to stand all together for our values – the values of democracy, freedom, and freedom of speech,” he added.

 

ALLIANCE FRAN

COUNTRY

FREEDOM

FRENCH AMBASSADOR GILLES GARACHON

GARACHON

MAKATI CITY

MALACA

POPE FRANCIS

ROMAN CATHOLIC

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