CANBERRA, Nov 13 – The Australian govenment said investigations into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 will be extended for another nine months, Xinhua news agency reported. Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced the government’s renewed commitment to the investigation in a statement released Thursday.
“The government is determined to work for as long as is required to bring those responsible to justice,” he said. Member countries of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) including Malaysia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine and Australia agreed upon a nine-month extension of investigations which will take the process through until August 2015.
The country currently has 35 Federal Police (AFP) members in eastern Ukraine, assisting investigations into the July 17 disaster that killed all 298 passengers and crew on board including 38 Australians. AFP personnel are among those finding the process of investigating the catastrophe slow due to the continuing conflict in eastern Ukraine between Kiev and Moscow.
“The security situation near the crash site remains unstable. Any decision to return there will be a joint decision with our JIT counterparts if and when it is safe to do so,” Keenan said. “Australia continues to encourage the international community to remain focused on finding, prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators of this cowardly attack,” he added.