Washington, DC – Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today concerning the tragic loss of President Lech Kaczynski, Polish leaders:

I wish to express my deepest condolences to the people of Poland following the tragic death of President Lech Kaczynski, as well as the numerous other political and military officials who perished in this terrible accident.

The timing of this loss is particularly poignant, as these officials were travelling to honor the Polish POWs who were massacred at Katyn Forest 70 years ago during World War II. A ceremony earlier this week was marked by the welcome participation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the first Russian leader to attend these memorial events. If any good is to come of this tragedy, I hope that it will be an impetus to continue the process of healing the wounds of the past. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and all of the Polish people.