UN to vote as early as Monday on crash resolution

Obama, Australian PM call for plane investigation

Associated Press . Canberra / New Age Online
A part of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is seen at its crash site, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 20, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday laid out what he said was overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine as he made the U.S. case against Moscow in the most emphatic and explicit terms yet. – Reuters photo

A part of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is seen at its crash site, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 20, 2014. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday laid out what he said was overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine as he made the U.S. case against Moscow in the most emphatic and explicit terms yet. – Reuters photo

Diplomats said the U.N. Security Council could vote as early as Monday on an Australia-proposed resolution demanding international access to the Ukraine plane crash site and a ceasefire around the area. But Australia and Russia late Sunday were still working out key differences, and Britain accused Moscow of using “delaying tactics.”
The resolution calls for pro-Russia separatists to allow access to the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet carrying 298 people, including 37 Australian citizens and residents. It asks for the full cooperation of all countries in the region, including Russia.
Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said she expects all 15 council members to support her country’s proposal.
But Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow is concerned the draft “does not accurately reflect the need for an impartial, international investigation.”
He said Russia is proposing that the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, take the lead in the investigation. The current proposal welcomes “the decision by ICAO to send a team to assist” Ukrainian investigators.
Churkin spoke to reporters on the sidelines of an emergency Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian fighting in Gaza. He said he and his Australian colleagues planned to stay after that meeting to hold further consultations on the Ukraine resolution.
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant accused Russia of proposing amendment after amendment to delay passage of the resolution.
“It looks like a typical Russian delay in tactics, and one can guess why they want delay,” Lyall Grant told reporters.
The resolution also demands that armed groups who control the crash site do not disturb debris, belongings or victims’ remains and cease military activities in the area.
Churkin said Russia had proposed “a ceasefire around the crash site” and that Australia had accepted that idea. He did not say how large the cease-fire area would be.
The resolution also demands that “those responsible for this incident be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability.”
U.N. diplomats have tweeted that the council will vote Monday afternoon on the proposal co-sponsored by Australia, France and Lithuania.
Russia has the power to veto the resolution as a permanent council member.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia would view a Russian veto of the resolution “very badly,” adding that “no reasonable person” could object to its wording.
“This is still an absolutely shambolic situation. It does look more like a garden clean-up than a forensic investigation,” he told reporters.
Earlier, Abbott said Russian President Vladimir Putin “said all the right things” during a telephone conversation about ensuring an international investigation into the disaster.
“I’m now going to try to ensure that as far as Australia humanly can, we insist upon these things happening,” Abbott told 2GB after the discussion.
Churkin described the conversation between Putin and Abbott as “very constructive and very good.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans was on his way to New York to speak to Security Council members “to further expand the international coalition pushing for quick recovery of the bodies and getting to the bottom of the terrible events on MH17.”
“Australia has a lot at stake here,” Bishop said. “They have been murdered, and the Australian government will not rest until we’re able to bring the bodies home to the Australian families who are waiting for them.”
Global probe team on MH17 crash formed: Meanwhile, Malaysia has announced the establishment of a joint investigation team, on the MH17 incident, which comprises officials from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Britain, and the US, Indian daily the Hindu reported.
However, the Ukrainian government had informed the investigation team that the crash site was under the full control of separatist groups and “it cannot guarantee the safety of the international team in and around the crash site”, Xinhua quoted Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai as saying in Kiev on Sunday.
The situation was further hampered by reports that a number of competing separatist groups control the area in and around the crash site, with no clear leader or chain of command, he said.
Malaysia was deeply concerned about this situation and demanded immediate and unrestricted access to the crash site and safety guarantee for international investigators and search and recovery personnel.
The Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight with 298 people on board crashed on Thursday in eastern Ukraine, with no survivors found so far, making it one of the worst tragedies in the history of civil aviation.
“Malaysia demands that all human remains must be allowed to be recovered, identified and repatriated,” the Minister said in Kiev. A Malaysian team of 133 officials and experts, comprising search and recovery personnel, forensics experts, technical and medical experts arrived in Kiev Saturday morning.
Obama, Australian PM call for plane investigation: Associated Press reported from Washington on Monday that President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott were reiterating their calls for an “unimpeded and transparent” international investigation into the downing of a passenger plane in Ukraine.
The White House says the two leaders spoke Sunday evening. They agreed Russia has a responsibility to use its influence with pro-Russian separatists who control the crash site to compel them to cooperate with international monitors and investigators.
At least 37 Australian citizens and residents were on board when the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine last week.



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