Tony Abbott Vows Justice for MH17 Victims as Australia Demands Full Access to Crash Site in UN Resolution
By Reissa Su | July 21, 2014 4:14 PM EST
Australia is leading calls for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to allow full access to the wreckage of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in a draft resolution for the UN Security Council. The document may be put to a vote possibly on July 21.
Belongings found at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 are pictured near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 20, 2014. Investigators from the U.N. aviation agency have arrived in Ukraine to help probe the crash of the Malaysian airliner but cannot reach the site because of safety concerns, a senior agency source said on Sunday. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev (UKRAINE - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY CONFLICT)
According to reports, the Malaysian jet carrying 298 people, including 28 Australians, was shot down from the sky on July 17 by a surface-to-air missile. There were no survivors on MH17.
Australia has begun circulating the draft resolution which demands from armed groups controlling the crash site to refrain from doing anything that might compromise the investigation. The document also requires the cooperation of pro-Russian separatists to provide security and "unfettered access" to the MH17 crash site, including surrounding areas.
While the draft UN Security Council resolution did not specifically mention Russia, the document called on states in the region to give their full cooperation in relation to an international investigation. The proposed probe aims to strengthen the international civil aviation and "recurrence of such use of force against civilian aircraft.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked by world leaders to use his influence in persuading rebel forces to hand over victims and allow full access to the MH17 crash site. Reports said major European nations have already warned Russia of possible sanctions in relation to the Malaysian jet crash.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has spoken to Mr Putin on July 20 to ask for support for the draft UN Security Council Resolution.
According to Mr Abbott, the Russian president said "all the right things" during their conversation. The prime minister told Macquarie Radio that he will be "speaking regularly" to Mr Putin to make sure he follows through with his word.
Mr Abbott said it was his priority to do the right thing and hand over the Australian victims' bodies to their families. He said the crash site must be secured to ensure the dead are treated with respect.
Mr Abbott promised to "do our best" and punish the guilty. He revealed the MH17 crash site has been like a "garden clean-up" rather than a forensic investigation since debris has been "trashed and trampled."
Reports said Australian experts are already in Kiev to prepare for travel to the site controlled mostly by pro-Russian militiamen.
Mr Abbott said an Australian aircraft was placed on standby and ready to ensure "that we get justice for the dead and closure for the living."
The prime minister had met with the cabinet and a national security committee for a meeting. He was also in a meeting with Labour leader Bill Shorten before he left for a U.S. trip. While Mr Abbott did not reveal the details of his conversation with Mr Putin, he told Channel Nine in an interview that he will seek the help of Russia in ensuring the dead are treated with dignity.
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