Obama signs condolence book at Dutch embassy
President Barack Obama visited the Embassy of the Netherlands on Tuesday to pay his respects to the 193 Dutch nationals killed in the downing last week of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.
Obama signed a condolence book at the embassy and offered a message to the Dutch.
“Obviously we are all heartbroken,” he told reporters, adding that he “extend[s] on behalf of all the American people our deepest condolences.”
The president added that he wanted to “express our solidarity with the people of the Netherlands” and will work with the Dutch “to make sure their loved ones are recovered and justice” is done.
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Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmerman came to New York to lobby for full access to the crash.
Speaking emotionally to Council members: “Since Thursday I’ve been thinking how horrible must it have been the final moments of their lives when they knew the plane is going down. Did they lock hands with their loved ones, did they hold their children close to their hearts… did they look each other in the eyes one last time in a wordless goodbye, we will never know.”
Timmerman says Dutch emotions had swiftly shifted from grief to anger. “The last couple of days we’ve received very disturbing reports of bodies being moved about and looted for their possessions. Just for one minute, I’m not addressing you as representatives of your countries but as husbands and wives, fathers and wives, just imagine that you first get the news that your husband was killed and then within two or three days you see images of some thug removing the wedding band from their hands, just imagine that this could be your spouse.”