Tuesday, 22 July 2014 - 15:51
Rutte: First plane with victims expected Wednesday
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has released a statement in which he says that a plane carrying some of the bodies of the Dutch victims in the MH17 plane crash tragedy is expected in The Netherlands on Wednesday. He further notes that something has fundamentally changed since last Thursday, with all options lying on the table for The Netherlands to take strong action against the cause of this tragedy. The Prime Minister says that he received a phone call from the official crisis team in Ukraine, with the message that the train carrying the bodies of the crash victims finally arrived in Charkov, where the bodies will be prepared for transport to The Netherlands where they can be identified. Rutte repeats that the top priority of the Dutch government has been and remains "bringing back our people, all our people." The plane carrying victims is expected to arrive in Eindhoven during the afternoon on Wednesday. Once the bodies have arrived in Eindhoven, they will go on to the Korporaal van Oudheusden barracks in Hilversum. The family will know as soon as the victim has been identified. Rutte also says that the families will be the first to know, nobody else. This could take weeks, or months, the PM adds. Further, the Prime Minister says that The Netherlands has received the okay to lead the investigation, at the request of Ukraine. "Our attention now goes to finding the remaining victims and personal belongings. The Dutch experts will continue their task in the field as quickly as possible." The black boxes that were handed over to the Malaysian investigators by the pro-Russian separatists have since arrived in Charkov for the investigative team to inspect, Rutte announces. Of the unanimous resolution passed by the UN Security Council to condemn the attack that downed the plane is "an important means to keep international pressure on the progress of bringing back our people, of the investigation into the cause and of trying those who are responsible for this terrible tragedy", Rutte says. The next step is being taken in Brussels, the Prime Minister reports, where the 28 Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union are discussing possible further measures that may be taken against Russia to try and stem the tensions in Ukraine, as well as to smooth the process for investigation. Minister Frans Timmermans has said that The Netherlands is putting all options on the table, and will not stand in the way of strong action.