WASHINGTON, July 18, 2014 —
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by telephone today with Malaysian Defense Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to offer his condolences for those who lost their lives on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine yesterday, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
“The secretary extended his personal condolences to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Minister Hishammuddin, whose step-grandmother was among the passengers killed,” Kirby said in a statement summarizing the call.
The secretary reiterated President Barack Obama's pledge to provide U.S. support to the investigation, the admiral said, and the two leaders discussed the security situation in Ukraine and the importance of making sure investigators have unimpeded and secure access to the crash site.
“Secretary Hagel thanked the minister for his continued support of the strong relationship between our two militaries,” Kirby said, “and both leaders agreed on the need for continued dialogue as the investigation into the crash proceeds.”
The secretary and the minister promised to stay in touch as developments unfold, he added.