WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- President Obama made an unscheduled stop at the Embassy of the Netherlands Tuesday morning to pay his condolences to the Dutch people in honor of those killed aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17 last week.
Obama dropped in at the embassy in Northwest D.C. shortly before noon, where he was greeted by the Deputy Chief of Mission Peter Mollema. He signed a condolence book laid out in the entrance hall of the embassy, and in response to a question from a reporter, said he wanted to "express our solidarity with the people of the Netherlands" and "extend on behalf of the American people our deepest condolences."
"We will work with them to make sure their loved ones are recovered and justice is done," he added, according to the pool report.
Mollema responded by saying he was "deeply grateful" for the "outpour of support from the American people."
Of the 298 people who died aboard the flight that was shot down over territory held by pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine on Thursday, more than half -- 193 -- were Dutch.
After several days of tense negotiations with the rebels, the bodies of many of the deceased were finally turned over to Ukrainian officials late Tuesday evening, and will shortly be taken to the Netherlands.
As provided by the White House, President Obama wrote the following message in the condolence book:
On behalf of the American people, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of the Netherlands as they mourn the loss of so many family and friends.
No words can adequately express the sorrow the world feels over this loss. It is made more acute by the deep ties of friendship between our two countries.
Bound by that friendship, we will not rest until we are certain that justice is done.
God Bless, Barack Obama