M’sia, Netherlands pledge to find MH17 perpetrators

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PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and the Netherlands pledged to continue working closely together to bring the perpetrators of the flight MH17 tragedy to justice.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this was the commitment that both governments had agreed on and it was time to ensure this was achieved.

“We can count on [Netherlands Prime Minister] Mark Rutte for his friendship and cooperation. We look forward to working together and find out what really happened to the plane beyond any doubt, and more importantly who were responsible for the incident,” Najib said in his remarks at a special session with the Malaysian team involved in the MH17 recovery operation here yesterday.

Present was Rutte, who is on an official visit to Malaysia.

Najib expressed his thanks to Rutte and the Dutch government for their support and leadership role in ensuring that victims of MH17 were brought back to their families.

The prime minister noted that there was a silver lining in the tragedy with the affected countries becoming even closer together.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17 as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.

The Boeing 777-200 aircraft is believed to have been shot down in the troubled country. There were 193 Dutch nationals and 44 Malaysians among the people on board, and the remains of all Malaysian victims have been identified.

Rutte said both countries and Australia have been “working so well together” and hope the cooperation will continue for the upcoming months or years to get to the bottom of the incident.

He said there are still nine victims who have yet to be identified.

“We want to get to the number of 298. We hope we can get there and we will do our utmost,” he said.

Rutte said he believed that everyone affected by the MH17 tragedy would never forget what had happened, but hoped they would continue to forge stronger ties together.

“I see many people here who have helped in the first week and afterwards to do what was necessary to bring back the remains and personal belongings, in making a start to finding out who was behind this and to bring them to justice,” he said.

Also present were Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman and other officials.

Commenting on his flight from the Netherlands on Malaysia Airlines flight MH19, Rutte described the airline as the “best connection” between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.

MH19 is the new call sign for the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur route, replacing the ill-fated MH17.

“This [flight] gives a special meaning to the fact that MH17 was scheduled to arrive at the same time almost three months ago. It brings memories to take this flight,” he said at a joint press conference following the special session. — Bernama

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 6, 2014.