- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 17, 2010

Because of the ash hampering air travel across Europe, President Obama has canceled plans to travel to Poland for the funeral of the late President Lech Kaczynski on Sunday afternoon, the White House said.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said Mr. Obama called acting President Bronislaw Komorowski to tell him the U.S. will instead be represented by its ambassador at the service.

“Michelle and I continue to have the Polish people in our thoughts and prayers, and will support them in any way I can as they recover from this terrible tragedy,” Mr. Obama said. “President Kaczynski was a patriot and close friend and ally of the United States, as were those who died alongside him, and the American people will never forget the lives they led.”

Mr. Kaczynski, his wife Maria and 94 others were killed on April 10 in a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia, on their way to a ceremony commemorating a massacre of Polish officers 70 years ago. The deceased included dozens of high-ranking Polish officials.

A cloud of volcanic ash floating above much of Northern Europe has shut down air traffic and stranded hundreds of thousands of travelers over the last several days.

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