Saturday 27 November 2021

‘A political game with bodies’: Dutch foreign minister on MH17 at UN

Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans has made a very strongly worded statement to the United Nations Security Council in New York about the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine and the death of 298 people.

‘The last couple of days we have received very disturbing reports of bodies being moved about and looted for their possessions,’ the foreign minister said.

‘Just for one minute I am not addressing you as representatives of your countries but as husbands and wives, as fathers and mothers,’ Timmermans said.

‘Just imagine that you first get the news that your husband was killed, then within two or three days you see images of some thug removing the wedding ring from their hands. Just imagine that this could be your spouse.’


‘The images of children’s toys being thrown around, suitcases opened and passports shown make us furious,’ he went on.

The minister condemned the slowness of the recovery process. ‘To my dying day I will not understand that it took so much time for the rescue workers to be allowed to do their difficult jobs and that human remains should be used as a political game,’ he said.

‘If somebody here around the table talks about a political game this is the political game which is being played with human remains and it is despicable.’


Earlier, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on those responsible ‘be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability’.

The Security Council also demanded the militia allow ‘safe, secure, full and unrestricted access’ to the crash site. Russia also supported the motion.

Timmermans thanked the security council for its united condemnation of the downing of flight MH17 and repeated again that the Netherlands will not rest until all the facts are on the table.


Earlier, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said a train carrying around 200 body bags had begun its journey from rebel held parts of Ukraine to Kharkiv, which is in Ukrainian government hands.

From there they will be flown back to the Netherlands for identification, probably later on Tuesday.

However, Dutch media reported on Tuesday morning the train remained in the rebel held city of Donetsk.

Black box

In addition, a senior Ukrainian separatist leader has handed over the plane’s black boxes to Malaysian experts, the BBC reported. The head of the Malaysian delegation told reporters the recorders were ‘in good condition’.

European Union foreign ministers will later on Tuesday discuss further steps against Russia.

However, according to Reuters ‘the most they are expected to do is to speed up implementation of sanctions against individuals, and possibly companies, agreed in principle last week before the plane was brought down’.

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