In a terrible accident, President Lech Kaczynski of Poland was killed in a plane crash along with his wife, and a distinguished delegation of Polish civilian and military leaders. This morning, President Obama called Prime Minister Tusk of Poland to offer his deepest condolences for the tragic loss and express the full and strong support of the American people for Poland. Secretary Clinton released the following statement:
"I join President Obama in offering my deepest condolences to the people of Poland, to the Kaczynski family, and to the families of all those killed in this tragedy. Lost alongside President Kaczynski and his wife were Polish leaders from across the political spectrum, men and women who shaped and sped Poland's post-1989 democratic transformation and were leading Poland into its promising future. The tragedy of these lives cut short will be felt deeply across the world, but their legacy will live on in a free and flourishing Poland.
"The United States stands with the Polish people in this difficult hour. Like the country he led, President Kaczynski was one of America's most valued and trusted allies. He was well known in the United States as a champion for democracy against an oppressive regime, a man whose journey took him from the Gdansk Shipyards to the presidency of a free people. President Kaczynski was an unstinting advocate for freedom and human rights not just in Poland, but around the world. He will be long remembered and sorely missed.
"The Polish people have endured more than their share of sorrow, but they have always shown resilience and resolve in the face of adversity -- and I know they will pull together in solidarity to grieve this loss.
"My thoughts and prayers are with all the people of Poland today."Update: On April 11, 2010, Secretary Clinton signed the condolence book at the Embassy of Poland in Washington, DC. Read the Secretary's remarks here.