Dutch foreign minister lobbies UN for help to get crash bodies home
Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans is in New York on Monday to gather UN support for a united international approach to bringing the bodies of those killed in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash back from Ukraine.
‘This is my first and most important task,’ Timmermans said on his Facebook page.
The minister said he will also strive to ensure the international community supports calls for a full, independent and international inquiry ‘so we can establish exactly what happened and call those responsible to justice.’
Timmermans said US secretary of state John Kerry and Britain’s foreign minister Philip Hammond have pledged their full support.
‘In these difficult times for our country, we are not alone,’ Timmermans said. ‘Our friends are at our side. And we will not rest until justice is done.’
The Netherlands will take the lead in identifying victims of flight MH17, brought down over Ukraine with the loss of 298 lives, prime minister Mark Rutte told a news conference on Sunday.
A Dutch defence ministry plane is heading for Charkov in Ukraine on Sunday evening carrying people and equipment to establish a coordination centre, Rutte said.
‘I have spoken today with [German chancellor Angela] Merkel and [British prime minister David] Cameron and this evening I will have contact again with [Russian president Vladimir] Putin,’ Rutte said. ‘Everything is focused on getting the bodies back.’
On Monday there will be a closed meeting for relatives of the 193 Dutch nationals who died. King Willem-Alexander, queen Máxima, the prime minister and other ministers will be at the meeting, broadcaster Nos said.
There will also be a briefing for MPs later on Monday.