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MH17 CRASH: Working to ensure safe entry for rescue team
Publication Date : 21-07-2014
A high-powered Malaysian government delegation is in Kiev to seek co-operation from the Ukrainian government for the Special Malaysian Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) to enter and secure the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 went down.
They include transport minister Liow Tiong Lai and foreign minister Anifah Aman. Liow arrived in Kiev yesterday while Anifah arrives today with a team of Wisma Putra officials.
On Saturday, prime minister Najib Razak said he had asked the two ministers to go to Kiev as soon as possible and ensure the SMART team could do their work unhindered.
The delegation is set to have several meetings, including one with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
“The meeting between Anifah and Poroshenko is the most significant in our effort to enter and secure the site,” Malaysian officials said.
“We need his assurance and his government’s assistance to provide a safe passage for our SMART personnel to do their job.”
Liow is also expected to be at the meeting. Already he has expressed Malaysia’s concern that the crash site had not been properly secured.
The 62-member Malaysian delegation comprises of the department of civil aviation, civil defence department, chemistry department, foreign ministry and Malaysian Islamic development department (Jakim), among others.
They are in Kiev and waiting for authorisation to travel to the crash site.
Malaysia, Ukraine and six other interested parties – teams from some of the countries the passengers were from – have engaged a third party to negotiate with pro-Russian rebels for the safe passage.
Malaysian special investigation team leader Khairil Hilmi Mokhtar told Malaysian reporters that the negotiations were going on.
“We hope to be able to enter the site by tomorrow,” he said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is in talks to break the deadlock over the recovery of bodies from the site.
Representative Anastasia Isyuk told The Star that ICRC offered its services to both the Ukrainian government and representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Popular Republic to address the issue of the remains.
Isyuk said an ICRC specialist in dead body management joined the team in Ukraine.