NEW YORK, Sept 25 – Kiev cannot guarantee safe passage for an international investigation team to enter the site where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 went down in eastern Ukraine last July because it is unsafe, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Wednesday (Thursday in Malaysia). The Malaysian prime minister said this was conveyed to him by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk when they met at the United Nations, here. Kiev also could not provide a concrete schedule as to when the international probe team could enter the crash site, said Najib. Najib said Yatsenyuk had told him that shooting and shelling were going on in eastern Ukraine although a ceasefire agreement was in place.
Malaysia, Najib said, was concerned over the unclaimed remains of the passengers and crew of the ill-fated flight at the crash site as well as the forensic evidence there. Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17 as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. There are 43 Malaysians on board the Boeing 777-200 aircraft and, to date, the remains of 40 had been identified and brought back home. Najib said Putrajaya was also concerned over the coming of the winter season in the area that could affect the forensic evidence. Asked whether Putrajaya would initiate talks with the rebels to allow safe passage for the international investigation team into the area, Najib said: “The communication line is still open but we have to be mindful of the sensitivity of Kiev.” Najib is here from Sept 20 to 28 to attend the United Nations General Assembly as well as other functions.