Last night, I reached an agreement with Alexander Borodai to bring an end to the standoff over the MH17 crash site. Our agreement rested on three conditions:
– the return of the remains of those who lost their lives;
– the handover of the black boxes;
– and full access to the crash site so that the investigation may begin.
I am pleased to confirm that the first two conditions have now been met. The train carrying the remains of those who lost their lives has arrived in Kharkhiv, where arrangements will be made to move them to Amsterdam.
And the Malaysian team have taken custody of the black boxes, which appear to be in good condition. They will held securely in Malaysian custody while the international investigation team is being formalised. At that time, we will pass the black boxes to the international investigation team for further analysis.
These were extraordinary circumstances which called for extraordinary measures. There were risks involved in pursuing this agreement. But we felt an obligation to explore all avenues to break the impasse, and secure the return of the remains and the black boxes. After meeting the families, I felt that we owed it to them to act.
So far, the agreement has been honoured. Malaysia requests that this co-operation continue, and that investigators are granted the full access to the site which was agreed.
I am relieved that we have been able to secure the breakthrough that has allowed us to move forward.
I would like to thank the Malaysian team on the ground, who have worked hard to support this operation. Thanks to their efforts, we are closer to finding out what happened to aircraft, and fulfilling our shared responsibility to those who lost their lives.
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