Timmermans speech leads UN Security Council to condemn MH17 attack
In a powerful speech at the UN Security Council on Monday, Minister Frans Timmermans of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs berated the agents involved in delaying the investigations at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines flight. He said that The Netherlands' top priority is bringing the bodies of the victims who died in the MH17 plane crash in Ukraine back safely to The Netherlands.
"Until I die, I will not understand that it took so long before rescue workers were able to do their difficult job in Ukraine, and that human remains were used as a political game. I hope that I never have to see that again", Minister Timmermans told the present dignitaries and journalists.
The UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that "condemns in the strongest terms" the attack that caused the Malaysia Airlines aircraft to go down in eastern Ukraine. The United Nations Civil Aviation Agency has been ordered to perform an international investigation, and armed separatists in the area must give unrestricted access to the crash site.
Minister Timmermans thanked the United Nations for this judgement, and emphasized that The Netherlands will not rest before all facts are on the table.
Russia has said that it supports the UN's draft text after negotiations that went through the weekend. The Kremlin has, however, ordered the phrase 'shooting down' be replaced with 'downing'. In the resolution, the Ukrainian government has a diminished role in the tragedy. The tensions in the area, coming from separatist groups, are called on to cease immediately.
Timmermans vented his rage at the delay with the train that is carrying the bodies of the victims, and the lack of decorum reported with the process. "In the last few days we have heard shocking stories about dragging of bodies of the victims and about robbing the victims. It must be unbearable to lose your husband, and then to have to be scared that a rogue steals his wedding ring from his body."
The Minister continued to point a finger at the separatist groups in the area, condemning them for their lack of civility in the treatment of the crash site. "Images of children's toys being thrown around, bags being opened and passports being shown make us furious", the Minister adds. According to the New York Times, Australia has urged Moscow to use its influence on these groups in this matter.
Outside the Council, Timmermans spoke to reporters with yet more frustration. He said it is "mind-boggling" that Russia did not urge the separatists to cooperate with the international investigators over the last few days. "I hope Russia would now feel its responsibility, act upon its responsibility", the Minister said. "If it doesn't, it's going to have an increasingly isolated position in the international community."
In a seeming attempt to pull this international tragedy back from the political strings that it has been attached to, Minister Timmermans emphasized further the human tragedy that this is. "How terrible it must have been, when they knew that the plane crashed. Did they hold their loved ones' hands, did they press their children to their hearts, look each other in the eye a last time? We shall never know."