Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte delivered at a meeting in Malaysia regarding the investigation of the MH17 disaster

Speech by Prime Minister Mark Rutte delivered at a meeting in Malaysia regarding the investigation of the MH17 disaster.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for being here today with Prime Minister Najib Razak and me.

The reason for my visit to Malaysia is the terrible fate of flight MH17. This was a tragedy that should never have occurred. 298 passengers and crew members lost their lives. Among them were more than 40 Malaysian victims. Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones, relatives and friends. I realise that for Malaysia, this tragedy is only one of two disasters. You have lost two aircraft this year with all the crew and passengers. The shock and loss have hurt your country deeply. In my country we feel your pain.

In the aftermath of the MH17, we in the Netherlands have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support we have received from you and so many other Malaysians. Malaysians who continue to be involved in one way or another.

I would like to thank you most sincerely, on behalf of the Dutch government and on behalf of your Dutch counterparts, for everything you have done. Your efforts and perseverance have been invaluable in helping us to retrieve and identify the victims’ remains and belongings. And also in our efforts to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this terrible crime. Thanks to your tireless work, we have succeeded in identifying and repatriating many victims and their belongings.

Some of you are involved in investigating the cause of the downing of flight MH17 – a vital part of our efforts to obtain justice for the victims and their families. Many of you have worked under very difficult conditions at or near the crash site.

This tragedy has struck our countries deeply. It has also brought us closer than ever before. We are united in grief.

Our two countries, together with Australia, will remain committed to completing the daunting task of identifying and bringing home all the victims and their possessions, of establishing the cause of the tragedy, and of bringing those responsible to justice. We will not rest until this work is done. Last week conditions allowed a small team to visit the crash site. They found remains of victims, which will be transferred to the Netherlands following the usual ceremonial protocol. We will continue to take every opportunity to go to the site.

Next Monday we will have a National Day of Remembrance in the Netherlands. We will commemorate all the victims whose lives ended so abruptly.  We will also pay tribute to all those who have contributed to the repatriation mission and the investigations.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me once again express my deep appreciation for your hard work in the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy. I know that we will carry on with this important work in the same spirit of close friendship.