Media Statement & Information on Flight MH17
Ladies and gentlemen,
Like the Netherlands, Malaysia is in mourning. We mourn the loss of all 298 lives on board MH17.
And as we watched the first bodies arrive in Eindhoven, our hearts reached out to the people of the Netherlands, who have lost so much.
The flags flying at half-mast told their own story: of the nations who lost their sons and daughters. And of our determination to work together to bring them home.
Malaysia stands with the Netherlands, with Australia; with all countries whose people have been lost. We stand together, united in grief, and ready to help however we can.
Earlier, Prime Minister Rutte and I spoke about the continued military activity at the crash site; the inability of international investigators to deploy across it; and the human remains that may still lie there.
For the sake of the grieving families, it is imperative that all remains at the crash site are repatriated as soon as possible. Every single victim must be given dignity and a decent funeral.
Our other priority is to ensure the international investigators are given full and unfettered access to the site, so that they may collect evidence and carry out their vital work. Only then will we be able to find out what happened to MH17; only then can we achieve justice for the victims and their families.
The conflict in Eastern Ukraine may not be easily resolved. But the people on board that plane had no part in it.
We ask that there be an immediate cessation of hostilities in and around the crash site – by both Ukrainian and separatist forces.
We ask that all sides respect the lives lost, and the integrity of the site, so that the investigation may proceed. The long walk towards justice begins with this step.
A team of 68 Malaysian police has arrived Kiev today. They will work together with the Dutch and Australian teams to help secure access to the site.
Malaysia fully supports the international investigation, and we are grateful to the Netherlands for their lead role in the international team.
Repatriating the remains of victims as fast as possible is a shared priority. Malaysian experts are already helping here in the Netherlands with the painstaking task of identification – and we stand ready to provide more assistance if required.
On behalf of Malaysia, I would like to thank Prime Minister Rutte and the Dutch people for all they have done, and continue to do, for the victims of this senseless and tragic act.
Malaysia has secured an agreement with Ukrainian separatists, who control the area around the MH17 crash site, to allow a group of international police personnel to enter the area in order to provide protection for international crash investigators.
Pursuant to the earlier agreement between Prime Minister Najib Razak and Alexander Borodai, leader of the separatist forces, Mr Borodai today agreed to allow a deployment of international police personnel to enter the crash site.
Prime Minister Najib has today spoken to the prime ministers of the Netherlands and Australia, and the three grieving countries have agreed to work closely together in deploying police personnel.
68 Malaysian police personnel will leave Kuala Lumpur for the crash site on Wednesday as part of the international deployment.
Under the original three point agreement brokered between Prime Minister Najib and Mr Borodai last week, the Ukrainian separatists agreed to:
transfer the black boxes to Malaysia;
handover the human remains to international officials;
and grant full access to the crash site for international investigators.
So far, international air crash investigators have been unable to properly deploy across the vast crash site in eastern Ukraine and collect evidence due to ongoing security concerns, including continued military activity. Malaysia calls for an immediate cessation of all military activities in and around the crash site.
Malaysia is concerned that these security concerns are preventing full and unfettered access to the site, and therefore a proper, independent investigation from being carried out. Moreover, Malaysia is particularly concerned that some human remains may still be at the crash site.
Malaysian officials are discussing the details of the police deployment with the Netherlands and Australia. Malaysian Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman, has been speaking to his international counterparts and officials from the Ukrainian government on the legal and diplomatic framework for the deployment.
Malaysian Transport Minister, Liow Tiong Lai, has been leading on the MH17 investigation, working closely with the head of the investigation in the Netherlands.
SPEAKING EARLIER TODAY, PRIME MINISTER NAJIB RAZAK SAID:
“I am deeply concerned that international investigators have been unable to properly deploy to the crash site because of the volatile security situation. It is imperative that we deploy a full team of investigators to ensure that all the human remains are removed from the site, identified and repatriated. Everyone who was on board MH17 must be afforded proper dignity and respect.
“We also need a full deployment of investigators to have unfettered access to the crash site so we can understand precisely what happened to MH17. I hope that this agreement with Mr Borodai will ensure security on the ground, so the international investigators can conduct their work.
“Three grieving nations have formed a coalition to secure the site. Through our joint deployment of police personnel, the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia will work together to achieve justice for the victims.”
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For the passenger manifest of MH17, click here