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Americas

Paris mayor slams 'unfriendly' Trump over safety row

media Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo visits the Tatsumi International Swimming Pool which will be used for water polo venue during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games AFP/Toru Yamanaka

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Monday spoke out against disparaging comments by Donald Trump about the French capital and immigration policies in Europe, suggesting the US president should instead focus on issues closer to home.

During a trip to Tokyo on Monday, Hidalgo responded to Trump's comment that "Paris is no longer Paris" since the recent terror attacks that have targeted the city.

"They are unfriendly comments," Hidalgo said.

"No one points out that a lot of crime in big US cities linked to the open sale of guns is a plague that takes many lives," she added.

Hidalgo paid tribute to the strength of the French capital in standing up to terrorism.

"There is a risk of terrorism in all major cities," said Hidalgo, whose city is bidding to host the 2024 Olympics. "But Paris is doing well, Paris is a resilient city."

Hidalgo was in Japan to drum up tourism and inspect Tokyo 2020 Olympic sites.

"Japanese tourists are coming back" to Paris again, she said.

"There has been a very substantial increase in booking numbers -- up 80 percent in the first two months of this year compared to last year. That is very good news."

'Paris is no longer Paris'

In a rally outside Washington on Friday Trump defended his crackdown on immigrants and criticised long-time allies France, Sweden and Germany.

Singling out the French capital, which has suffered terror attacks by Islamist militants in recent years, he quoted a friend 'Jim' who refuses to visit the European city, saying "Paris is no longer Paris".

Mayor Anne Hidalgo responded the same day by tweeting a photo of Mickey and Minnie Mouse at the Eiffel Tower, following up with the hashtag #Donald&Jim in subsequent tweets pointing to a spike in American tourist figures this year.

However, the number of tourists visiting Paris has dropped over the last two years due to multiple terror attacks.

In November 2015, 130 people were killed in Paris when gunmen and suicide bombers from the Islamic State armed group group attacked bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France national stadium.

That attack came 10 months after two jihadist gunmen shot dead cartoonists and journalists at the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

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