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Diplomacy amidst the wreckage and the rhetoric

Malaysian PM Najib on MH17

Although not a fan of Malaysian PM Najib Razak, his approach to the MH17 disaster has been more diplomatic than the angry rhetoric of both the US and the UK. Indeed I would go further and say that it demonstrates the difference between Cameron and Obama, who are simply politicking and the governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands who are attempting to recover the bodies of their citizens and understand why MH17 is spread across 8-miles of a Ukrainian war-zone.

Indeed, considering that Malaysia has lost a number of citizens, an airplane and further damage to the national carrier whose subsidies keep it afloat, the Malaysian PM was very focused in his delivery.

In recent days, we have been working behind the scenes to establish contact with those in charge of the MH17 crash site.

That contact has now been made. Under difficult and fluid circumstances, we have been discussing the problems that have occupied us all: securing vital evidence from the aircraft, launching an independent investigation, and above all recovering the remains of those who lost their lives.

Tonight, we have established the basis of an agreement to do just that.

Earlier this evening I spoke to Alexander Borodai, who is in command of the region where the tragedy occurred. We have agreed the following:

· Firstly, the remains of 282 people, currently in Torez, will be moved by train to Kharkiv, where they will be handed over to representatives from the Netherlands. The train will depart this evening Ukraine time, and will be accompanied by six Malaysian members of the recovery team. The remains will then be flown to Amsterdam on board a Dutch C130 Hercules, together with the Malaysian team. Following any necessary forensic work, the remains of Malaysian citizens will then be flown home to Malaysia.

· Secondly, at approximately 9pm tonight Ukraine time, the two black boxes will be handed over to a Malaysian team in Donetsk, who will take custody of them.

· Thirdly, independent international investigators will be guaranteed safe access to the crash site to begin a full investigation of the incident.

I must stress that although agreement has been reached, there remain a number of steps required before it is completed.

There is work still to be done, work which relies on continued communication in good faith. Mr Borodai and his people have so far given their co-operation.

I ask that all parties continue to work together to ensure that this agreement is honoured; that the remains of our people are returned, that the black box is handed over, and that the international team is granted full access to the site.

Only then can the investigation into MH17 truly begin; only then can the victims be afforded the respect they deserve. We need to know what caused the plane to crash, and who was responsible for it, so that justice may be done.

In recent days, there were times I wanted to give greater voice to the anger and grief that the Malaysian people feel. And that I feel. But sometimes, we must work quietly in the service of a better outcome.

I understand that for the families, nothing can undo this damage. The lives taken cannot be given back; the dignity lost cannot be regained.

My heart reaches out to those whose loved ones were lost on MH17. We hope and pray that the agreement reached tonight helps bring them a clear step towards closure.

Full statement of Najib Razak on MH17 Agreement

Frankly, as a Malaysian resident working in Holland, with the horrors of MH17 both at home and at work, I find the anti-Russian rhetoric of both the UK and the US to be both inflammatory and unhelpful, especially since it has exacerbated an already difficult situation in terms of the recovery of both bodies and wreckage from a war-zone.

Cameron and Obama should have kept their mouths shut and their diplomatic channels open rather than vice versa. Yes, I am sure that there are questions to be answered and the long-term relationship between Western powers and Russia will be soured because of this, but now is not the time.

Let the families bury their dead and the international air-crash investigators do their work without endangering either you morons.

[UPDATE] – As if I didn’t need a further example of UK grandstanding, all of a sudden they’ve decided to hold a public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko. Now I’m not saying that this isn’t justified, because it is. It is something that should have happened in the immediate aftermath of his death and didn’t…because of politics and now it is to go ahead…because of politics…8-years after his death.

Alexander Litvinenko death: UK announces public inquiry


  1. NickM says:

    “…as a Malaysian resident working in Holland, with the horrors of MH17 both at home and at work…”

    So, what? The Sovs (sorry,, Russians – they are so very different) shot down an airliner and poisoned (in a Bond manner) an alleged spy on the streets of London like this and you don’t expect folk to get annoyed?

    As to letting the families bury the dead… (That would be much easier without the Pooty-Stooges obfuscating at best – as they have done) then yes, fine. Mark the debris and do the analysis. It could be useful but we know what happened here.

    Dear Gods! If I had been PoTUS then Pooty-Poot and the Dinnerjacket would spend their final days co-piloting a “Spacka Chariot” at best…

  2. Julie near Chicago says:

    Oh, look, Ma! An enclosed golf cart!

  3. Tim Newman says:

    NickM beat me to it. Putin and the separatist leaders were clearly and visibly rattled on Thursday evening, and knew the shit would hit the fan. Except it didn’t. Weasel-words were expressed by what passes for European and American leadership these days, including – unbeliveably – please for Putin to “de-escalate the situation”. By the time the weekend was out the Kremlin propaganda machine had ramped up into full flow of disinformation, obfuscation, and outright lies and the separatists in Ukraine had gained enough confidence to start fiddling with the wreckage and denying the investigators access.

    Respect for the dead is all well and good, but it should – in this instance – take second place to holding the perpetrators to account (and no, I’m not in the “let’s wait until the full investigation findings are published in a year’s time before rushing to judgement” camp). When the Soviets shot down KAL over Sakhalin in the 1980s, Regean came on air within a day or two with all the evidence assembled, stated directly what the Soviets had done and what sort of a regime they were in no uncertain terms. What we had was snivelling, cowardly leaders who have let Putin off the hook and given him time to remove all personnel and equipment that had anything to do with it. We had our chance to hold them to account, and that is gone forever.

    If this is respecting the dead, I just hope that if I go out the same way I am respected by somebody taking the perpetrator outside and hanging him from the balls by piano wire.

  4. NickM says:

    Yes, Tim, more later.

  5. JuliaM says:

    I think I’d like that too, Tim, but I’d rather they actually identified the right perpetrator first…

  6. Tim Newman says:

    I think I’d like that too, Tim, but I’d rather they actually identified the right perpetrator first…

    Me too, so let’s start with asking Russia outright “Were any Russian military personnel involved in the firing of any anti-aircraft weaponry in or near the region?” and make the questions progressively more difficult. Aren’t most of these dickhead politicians lawyers by background?

  7. JuliaM says:

    I think they are mostly liars by background…

  8. NickM says:

    That’s generous Julia, I’d say you cut ‘em in half (not a bad idea) the would have untruths etched through the fabric of their beings like Blackpool rock.

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