THE HAGUE, (July 31) — Following is the statement by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a joint press briefing here on with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 tragedy:
“Like the Netherlands, Malaysia is in mourning. We mourn the loss of all 298 lives on board MH17.
“And as we watched the first bodies arrive in Eindhoven, our hearts reached out to the people of the Netherlands, who have lost so much.
“The flags flying at half-mast told their own story: of the nations who lost their sons and daughters. And of our determination to work together to bring them home.
“Malaysia stands with the Netherlands, with Australia; with all countries whose people have been lost. We stand together, united in grief, and ready to help however we can.
“Earlier, Prime Minister Rutte and I spoke about the continued military activity at the crash site; the inability of international investigators to deploy across it; and the human remains that may still lie there.
“For the sake of the grieving families, it is imperative that all remains at the crash site are repatriated as soon as possible. Every single victim must be given dignity and a decent funeral.
“Our other priority is to ensure that the international investigators are given full and unfettered access to the site, so that they may collect evidence and carry out their vital work.
“Only then will we be able to find out what happened to MH17; only then can we achieve justice for the victims and their families.
“The conflict in eastern Ukraine may not be easily resolved. But the people on board that plane had no part in it.
“We ask that there be an immediate cessation of hostilities in and around the crash site – by both Ukrainian and separatist forces.
“We ask that all sides respect the lives lost, and the integrity of the site, so that the investigation may proceed. The long walk towards justice begins with this step.
“A team of 68 Malaysian police has arrived Kiev today. They will work together with the Dutch and Australian teams to help secure access to the site. Malaysia fully supports the international investigation, and we are grateful to the Netherlands for their lead role in the international team.
“Repatriating the remains of victims as fast as possible is a shared priority. Malaysian experts are already helping here in the Netherlands with the painstaking task of identification – and we stand ready to provide more assistance if required.
“On behalf of Malaysia, I would like to thank Prime Minister Rutte and the Dutch people for all they have done, and continue to do, for the victims of this senseless and tragic act.