President Donald Trump on Tuesday expressed condolences to French President Emmanuel Macron over the
Notre-Dame fire that devastated the Parisian landmark and offered U.S. assistance in rehabilitating the Cathedral, the White House said.
In Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari also condoled with President Macron, citizens of France, Christians in Nigeria and all over the world over the tragic incident that partially destroyed the historical Cathedral, which houses valuable items held dear by worshipers.
“Notre Dame will continue to serve as a symbol of France, including its freedom of religion and democracy,” White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement.
“We remember with grateful hearts the tolling of Notre Dame’s bells on Sept. 12, 2001, in solemn recognition of the tragic Sept. 11 attacks on American soil. Those bells will sound again.”
Macron has pledged to rebuild the cathedral, which is considered among the finest examples of European Gothic architecture and visited by more than 13 million people from around the world a year.
Within 24 hours of Monday’s blaze, French companies and local authorities had pledged more than 700 million euros to rebuild the cathedral, including 500 million from the three billionaire families that own France’s luxury goods empires Kering, LVMH and L’Oreal.
The fire has also promoted fundraising among Americans, with New York-based French Heritage Society and the Go Fund Me crowd sourcing platform among the first to offer help.
The heritage charity Fondation du Patrimoine said it was too early to estimate the cost of the damages.
Authorities say they suspected the fire was caused by accident.
A statement by Garba Shehu, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity), said that the President and Nigerians “joined the world in shock and disbelief as the highly revered and historical church building went up in flames on Monday, praying that the almighty God will provide resources and capacity for full restoration.
“As one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, a central place of worship for Christians and symbol of France, the President urges joint faith in prayers for the country and its citizens,” the statement concluded.