U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he is not traveling to France later Thursday to apologize for the Obama administration's failure to send a senior official to last weekend's unity march, but rather to give "a big hug to Paris" in the wake of terrorist attacks that have left the city on edge.

Kerry told reporters in the Bulgarian capital that he plans "to share a big hug with Paris and express the affection of the American people for France and for our friends there who have been through a terrible time."

He said he had no plans to apologize or try to explain the lack of a high-profile U.S. presence at Sunday's march, which the White House has acknowledged was a mistake.