Netherlands to coordinate MH17 victims’ identification efforts

193 Dutch citizens were on board the flight

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:27 pm IST

Published - July 21, 2014 08:41 am IST - The Hague

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Sunday that the Netherlands will coordinate the efforts to identify MH17 victims.

The Netherlands was hit the hardest of all countries in the Malaysian Airlines flight disaster in eastern Ukraine, with 193 Dutch citizens onboard among the total of 298 victims killed by the crash, 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 Frans Timmermans (foreign minister) and I had contact with many parties involved in repatriation of the deceased,” said Mr. Rutte in a press conference. “We have agreed that the Netherlands will get the international coordination of the identification of the victims.”

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

In addition, Mr. 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 Mr. Rutte.

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

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