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World Nations express solidarity with France, ‘shock and sadness’ after Notre-Dame Cathedral fire

Nations expressed solidarity with France after the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral and offered their support for the recovery.

This Tuesday April 16, 2019 photo by the Paris Fire Brigade shows fire fighters working at the burning Notre Dame cathedral, Monday April 15, 2019. Experts assessed the blackened shell of Paris' iconic Notre Dame Tuesday morning to establish next steps to save what remains after a devastating fire destroyed much of the cathedral that had survived almost 900 years of history. (Benoit Moser, BSPP via AP)

Benoit Moser /The Associated Press

Monday’s fire collapsed the spire and burned through the roof of the 12th-century building, sparking an outpouring grief and reminiscing of visits to the Parisian landmark. President Donald Trump called the cathedral “one of the great treasures of the world,” and the Vatican said Pope Francis felt “shock and sadness.”

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri expressed sadness over the fire he described as a “heritage and humanitarian disaster.” Hariri added in a tweet late Monday that Lebanon expresses strong solidarity with the “friendly French people.”

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A Philippine presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France as well as in solidarity with the rest of the world for this heartbreaking incident.”

The Obamas were among people sharing memories of past visits to the cathedral. Former President Barack Obama posted an old photo of himself, his wife Michelle and their two daughters lighting candles there and expressed his grief. Michelle Obama was in Paris on Monday on a book tour. “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,” she tweeted.

The French president has said he would seek help from the “greatest talents” in the world to rebuild Notre Dame, and many governments said they were considering contributions to what would be a significant architectural undertaking.

Japan’s government said it would consider sending support to the French government. “Its damage is a loss to the world and our hearts ache,” said Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for the world to come together to rebuild the Paris landmark. He said: “Our love for humanity will be illustrated in a more mature way in the process of reconstruction.”

The Polish prime minister recalled how his nation’s capital, Warsaw, was rebuilt after being destroyed by the Germans in World War II. Mateusz Morawiecki said late Monday on Twitter that “Poland knows what it means to have a cultural heritage lost in fire. We rebuilt Warsaw from the ruins ourselves. We will rebuild the Cathedral of Notre-Dame will together as Europeans.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the New York archbishop, said New Yorkers were united in sorrow with Parisians, who can “count on our love, prayers, support and solidarity. This Holy Week teaches us that, like Jesus, death brings life. Today’s dying, we trust, will bring rising,” Dolan said outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

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