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President Obama pays respects to Malaysia Airline Flight 17 victims with visit to Netherlands Embassy

President Obama expressed condolences to the families of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 during a visit Tuesday to the Netherlands Embassy in Washington.

A message of sympathy for the victims of the MH17 disaster, is written on a wooden klomp, a traditional Dutch footwear for farmers, placed together with bouquet of flowers in front of the Netherlands Embassy in Washington on July 21. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

"Obviously, we are all heartbroken," Obama said, after signing a condolence book. He said he was there to “express our solidarity with the people of the Netherlands” and added that “we will work with them to make sure their loved ones are recovered and justice” is  done.

At least 173 Dutch nationals were killed aboard the Malaysia Airline flight that crashed in Ukraine after being shot down by a missile.

According to a pool report of the visit, a Dutch flag was flying at half-staff, and Obama spoke in a courtyard with Peter Mollema, deputy chief of mission at the embassy. Obama signed a personal message in the condolence book, which was placed on a table covered in white linen.

Mollema responded to the president by saying that there had been “an outpouring from the American people” and he was “deeply grateful.” More than a dozen embassy personnel, including several officials in uniforms, lined up to shake hands with Obama as he departed.

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.



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