WASHINGTON, July 19, 2014 —
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today expressed his personal condolences in a telephone call with Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaer of the Netherlands for the 192 Dutch citizens who lost their lives on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
In a statement summarizing the call, Kirby said Hagel reiterated President Barack Obama's pledge to support an international investigation into the July 17 incident.
The two leaders also discussed the security situation in Ukraine and the difficulty investigators are experiencing in gaining unimpeded and secure access to the crash site, the admiral said.
“Minister Hennis-Plasschaert highlighted the Netherlands' desire to have the victims returned to their families as soon as possible,” Kirby added, “balanced with the need to support and complete a credible investigation.”
Hagel and Hennis-Plasschaert also discussed the importance of a strong and united response to the tragedy and promised to stay in touch regarding the situation in Ukraine, he said.