International sorrow as fire ravages Notre-Dame in Paris

Responses from world heads and organisations reflect the global stature of the heritage cathedral.

A firefighter uses a hose to douse flames billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. - Pope Francis stands with France and is praying for Roman Catholics and Parisians alike after a devastating fire raged through the iconic Notre-Dame cathedral in the heart of the city," the Vatican said on April 16. (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON / AFP)

International leaders voiced their sorrow and solidarity with the French people as fire ravaged the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday.

Here are some reactions delivered through statements and tweets.

– European Union –
Notre Dame “belongs to the whole of humanity. It has inspired writers, painters, philosophers and visitors who have come from all round the world.”

– EU Commission head Jean Claude Juncker

“Notre Dame of Paris is Notre-Dame of the whole of Europe. We are all with Paris today.”

– EU Council President Donald Tusk

– Vatican –
“We express our closeness with French Catholics and with the Parisian population. We pray for the firefighters and for all those who are trying their best to tackle this dramatic situation.”

– Vatican spokesman

– United Nations –
“Horrified by the pictures coming from Paris with the fire engulfing Notre-Dame Cathedral — a unique example of world heritage that has stood tall since the 14th century. My thoughts are with the people and government of France.”

– Secretary General Antonio Guterres

– Trump –
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”

– US President Donald Trump

– Iran –
“Saddened that Notre Dame —- that iconic monument dedicated to the worship of our one God & that brought all of us closer through Hugo’s literary masterpiece -— is partially destroyed after standing through wars & revolution for 800 yrs. Our thoughts are w/ the French & all Catholics.”

– Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

– Anglican Church –
“Tonight we pray for the firefighters tackling the tragic Notre Dame fire — and for everyone in France and beyond who watches and weeps for this beautiful, sacred place where millions have met with Jesus Christ.”

– Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

– Barack Obama –
“Notre Dame is one of the world’s great treasures, and we’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief. It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost -– but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.”

– US ex-president Barack Obama

– Michelle Obama –
“The majesty of Notre Dame — the history, artistry, and spirituality — took our breath away, lifting us to a higher understanding of who we are and who we can be. Being here in Paris tonight, my heart aches with the people of France. Yet I know that Notre Dame will soon awe us again.”

– Former first lady Michelle Obama

– Belgium –
“Notre Dame de Paris on fire, a huge emotion, Victor Hugo, a part of the history of France, of Europe. My thoughts and support for our French friends.”

– Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel

– Britain –
“My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral.”

– British Prime Minister Theresa May

– Egypt –
“The Arab Republic of Egypt affirms that it is following, with pain and sorrow, the Notre-Dame Cathedral catching fire, especially that this monument is of important cultural and historic significance for France and as part of the world’s heritage.”

– Egyptian foreign ministry

– Germany –
“These horrible images of Notre-Dame on fire are painful. Notre-Dame is a symbol of France and of our European culture. Our thoughts are with our French friends.”

– German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert

– Greece –
“The catastrophe of Notre-Dame in Paris deeply saddens us. It is not only a national catastrophe for France but also for Europe and for world heritage. Emmanuel Macron, we are by your side.”

– Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

– Italy –
“A blow to the heart for the French and for us all Europeans.”

– Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

– Lebanon –
“Sadness envelopes the world to see Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on fire. An indescribable catastrophe for heritage and for humanity. Lebanon is in full solidarity with its friends, the French people.”

– Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

– Netherlands –
“Paris and France have been hit hard by a destructive fire at Notre-Dame, one of the most emblematic buildings on our continent. This devastating fire is felt throughout the whole of Europe.”

– Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

– Norway –
“Heart-breaking to see Notre-Dame in flames in my favourite city Paris. Hope as much as possible can be saved.”

– Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg

– Poland –
“In March it was Saint-Sulpice (church in Paris hit by fire), and today it is Notre-Dame. A tragedy for believers; a catastrophe for world culture and art.”

– Polish President Andrzej Duda

– Spain –
“We are following with alarm the news arriving from Paris of the fire at Notre Dame, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. Sad news for our history and our universal cultural heritage.”

– Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

– Venice opera house –
“We burned twice, but twice we rose stronger from the ashes. We are with you, friends; do not be afraid.”

– Venice’s Fenice Opera House, hit by fire in 1836 and 1996

– World Jewish Congress –
“Notre Dame has for centuries stood proud and tall as an inimitable icon, a symbol of the country’s great culture and history. We pray that there are no injuries or loss of life in this tragedy, and that the destruction can be restored to allow this unparalleled structure to return to its position of symbolic majesty on the Parisian skyline.”

– WJC President Ronald S. Lauder/ AFP

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© Agence France-Presse

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