We were all relieved to learn yesterday that American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, detained in North Korea since March, would be released. They arrived safely back in the United States this morning, and were reunited with their families. The President called the families yesterday when he learned that the journalists were on the plane home, and described the reunion as "a source of happiness not only for the families but for the entire country."
The President reflected on the release in a statement
this morning, and he thanked President Clinton and Vice President Gore for their efforts which led to the safe homecoming:
I want to thank President Bill Clinton – I had a chance to talk to him – for the extraordinary humanitarian effort that resulted in the release of the two journalists. I want to thank Vice President Al Gore who worked tirelessly in order to achieve a positive outcome.
I think that not only is this White House obviously extraordinarily happy, but all Americans should be grateful to both former President Clinton and Vice President Gore for their extraordinary work. And my hope is, is that the families that have been reunited can enjoy the next several days and weeks, understanding that because of the efforts of President Clinton and Gore, they are able to be with each other once again.
So we are very pleased with the outcome, and I'm hopeful that the families are going to be able to get some good time together in the next few days.
(President Barack Obama makes a statement about the two journalists released from North Korea before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, August 5, 2009 Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)