Netherlands to coordinate MH17 victim identification efforts

Written by: IANS
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Malaysian plane crash
The Hague, July 21: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Sunday that the Netherlands will coordinate the efforts to identify MH17 victims.

The Netherlands was the hardest hit of all countries in the Malaysian Airlines flight disaster that happened in eastern Ukraine, with 193 Dutch citizens onboard among the total of 298 victims killed by the crash on Thursday, Xinhua reported.

The Dutch prime minister views it as a priority to identify the bodies of all the victims and bring them to the country of origin.

"Yesterday and today me and Frans Timmermans (foreign minister) had contact with many parties involved in repatriation of the dead people," said Rutte in a press conference. "We have agreed that the Netherlands will get the international coordination of the identification of the victims."

Tonight a unit of the defence ministry will travel from Eindhoven airport to Kharkov, with people and resources to organise the coordination center in Kharkov on board. The Dutch police chief Gert Wibbelink will lead that identification team.

In addition, Rutte spoke about the refrigerated train wagons in the disaster area containing bodies of victims, but apparently going nowhere. "All efforts are now focused to get this train on territory controlled by Ukraine," said Rutte.

"Among other things, Frans Timmermans telephoned Secretary of State John Kerry about this on Sunday. The OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) does the negotiations with the pro-Russian separatists."


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