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Spotlight: Netherlands to coordinate victim identification efforts as UN set to vote on MH17 disaster resolution

English.news.cn   2014-07-21 15:15:21

THE HAGUE/UNITED NATIONS, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Sunday a team of international forensic experts will finally reach the Ukrainian crash site of flight MH17 on Monday, and that the Netherlands will coordinate the efforts for identifying the victims.

"The OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) intends early tomorrow to take the identification mission, with the Dutch experts, to the site," Rutte told a press conference in The Hague.

He said that the Dutch would be coordinating the task of identifying the 298 dead from Thursday's Malaysian plane crash.

"Yesterday and today, Frans Timmermans (Foreign Minister) and I had contact with many parties involved in repatriation of the dead people," said Rutte.

"We have agreed that the Netherlands will get the international coordination of the identification of the victims," he added.

A unit of the Ministry of Defense will travel from Eindhoven airport to the government-held city of Kharkiv, more than 250 km north of the crash site, with people and resources to organize the coordination center. The Dutch police chief, Gert Wibbelink, will lead the identification team.

Bodies from the Malaysia Airlines crash site in eastern Ukraine have been taken to a nearby train station and loaded onto refrigerated train cars to be sent home for burial.

But the departure of dozens of corpses was delayed on Sunday as Ukrainian officials and rebels traded blame over why the train had not yet left the war zone, and where or when international investigators would be able to check it.

Western officials have voiced concern about the handling of the remains of the 298 people killed when the airliner crashed on Thursday. More than half of the victims were Dutch. The Dutch foreign minister has said his country is "furious" to hear bodies were being "dragged around."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday what was happening at the crash site was "really grotesque."

"Drunken separatists have been piling bodies into trucks and removing them from the site," Kerry said on the CBS.

After lying for two days in the summer heat, the bodies had been removed from a large swathe of the crash site by Sunday, leaving only bloodstained military stretchers along the side of the road.


An urgent vote could take place as early as Monday in the U.N. Security Council on a resolution demanding international access to the Ukraine plane crash site.

The resolution calls for the separatists to allow international access to the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet and asks for full cooperation of all countries in the region, including Russia.

The resolution demands that armed groups who control the crash site do not disturb debris, belongings or victims' remains and cease military activities in the area.

It also demands that "those responsible for this incident be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability."

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is believed to have been blown out of the sky Thursday by a surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

The measure "condemns in the strongest terms" the actions that caused the plane to crash.

It also urges countries to respect international civil aviation safety rules "in order to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, and demands that all states and other actors refrain from acts of violence directed against civilian aircraft."

A vote was set for Monday at 3:00 p.m. (1900 GMT).

Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has the right to exercise its veto power to scrap the resolution.


World leaders have demanded Russian President Vladimir Putin use his influence to persuade the rebels to hand over the remains of the victims and allow full access to the crash site.

Major European nations have warned Moscow of additional possible sanctions over the crash.

Kerry demanded that Moscow take responsibility for actions of the rebels in eastern Ukraine whom Washington suspects of downing the jet with a missile.

Putin has promised to cooperate with world leaders seeking access to the site of downed flight MH17.

The Russian leader also promised Rutte "full cooperation" in retrieving the bodies and black boxes, while Australia's premier Tony Abbott said the Russian leader had said "all the right things."

Meanwhile, Putin has also reiterated the importance for all sides not to make hasty conclusions and politicized statements until the investigation of the Malaysian airliner crash is over.

"Russia expressed its commitment and readiness to continue assisting the thorough investigation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)," the Kremlin press service said on Sunday.

"It is important to refrain from any hasty judgments and politicized statements until investigation is over," it said.

Putin discussed the ongoing acute political crisis in Ukraine with British Prime Minister David Cameron late Sunday night. The two leaders stressed the necessity of a peaceful settlement as soon as possible supported by the international community.


Editor: Fu Peng
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