MH17 crash: Najib in Amsterdam to ensure separatists fulfil third condition

MH17 crash: Najib in Amsterdam to ensure separatists fulfil third condition
AMSTERDAM - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrives in the Netherlands today to meet his counterpart Mark Rutte to discuss efforts to secure full and safe access to the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine.

Malaysian Ambassador to the Netherlands Datuk Fauziah Mohd Taib said Najib would meet Rutte at his office in The Hague.

There will be a brief joint press conference by the two prime ministers, and Najib will sign the condolence book opened by the Dutch government.

"He (Najib) wants to know the progress of the disaster victim identification (DVI) at Hilversum," Fauziah told reporters here.

She said Najib would also be briefed about the DVI process that was ongoing at the medical military base.

She said he would speak to DVI leader, Arie de Bruin, who would also be accompanied by at least three Malaysian DVI members.

"From there, we will be able to gauge when we can have the (Malaysian) bodies back, whether in weeks or months," she said.

Fauziah said Najib, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, will also lay a wreath at Hilversum before meeting de Bruin.

She noted that he would be the highest-ranking official from all the countries involved in MH17 to perform the gesture.

The ambassador said this would be the first visit here by a Malaysian Prime Minister since Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's official visit in 2005. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also visited in 1986.

She said Najib and Rutte would also discuss further cooperation between the two nations, given that safe access to the crash site had still not been secured for the international investigation team.

Najib will also host a dinner for the Malaysian team here, including the media, tonight.

He is set to hold a press conference tomorrow morning before leaving for home.

Fauziah said that in terms of bilateral relations between the two nations, the dynamics remained mainly over trade and investment as well as the exchange of technology.

She said Malaysia was the Netherlands' biggest trading partner in South-East Asia, with a trade volume which also exceeded that of the Netherlands' trade with Australia.

"However, because of the MH17 incident, the humanitarian aspect comes in as well.

"Najib's visit is specifically about MH17. I believe he will also convey to Rutte that it is time to enhance the level of our ties," she said.

Health Minister Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam and Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin will be accompanying Najib throughout his visit here.

Najib, who had worked behind the scenes to secure a deal with three critical conditions with the pro-Russian separatists, said his priority now was to ensure the third condition was honoured - that the international investigators be given full and secure access to the site.

The earlier conditions were the handing over of the MH17 black boxes to Malaysia as well as the return of the victims' remains to the Netherlands for identification and repatriation.

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