Disappointment as Rutte pulls plug on MH17 recovery
Mixed feelings in The House of Representatives this week as it becomes cleat that the repatriation mission in eastern Ukraine is coming to an end. MPs are both disappointed but understanding about the mission's end, which is necessary due to an intensified security threat for the investigators in the area.
"Our people are in the eye of the storm there. We cannot take great risks with their safety", said MP for the VVD Han ten Broeke.
Due to escalating clashes between the pro-Russian separatist rebels and Ukrainian soldiers in eastern Ukraine, the repatriation mission that aims to recover all remaining victims and their possessions from the crash site is being stopped for the time being.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the top priority remains to repatriate all victims, and that the ambition to return to the area remains strong. "We stop now, but we don't stop", the PM said in a press conference in Den Haag.
According to the Prime Minister, the experts as well as the OSCE are ready to resume the mission when it has been deemed safe.
We stand ready to assist in future phases of #MH17 recovery efforts if asked.
The decision to end the mission came from discussions with Australia, Malaysia and the OSCE, and comes after experts have already made several recoveries from the area.
The Parliament faction of VoorNederland (VNL) does not believe it is the right time to end the mission, however, and wants a new debate about the issue. "There are still victims and belongings that need to come back to The Netherlands. The surviving relatives are affected anew by this decision. From the beginning, we have pointed to the necessity to act quickly and strongly. Now we see the sad result of the soft and inadequate action", says faction president Louis Bontes.
According to the Algemeen Dagblad, the SP urged the Cabinet to enforce more pressure on the fighting parties to end their fighting in the disaster area. The CDA echoes this, emphasizing the role that the clashing parties are playing in the worsened security situation. "We are very worried about the situation in East-Ukraine and with Russia", says Pieter Omtzigt of the CDA.