The Netherlands and Malaysia are united in grief

Press statement by Prime Minister Mark Rutte after his meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, 31 July 2014.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte:

The Netherlands and Malaysia are united in grief at the death of so many of our citizens in the crash of flight MH17. The pain caused by this terrible accident is almost impossible to bear. For Malaysia, the disaster follows the earlier disappearance of flight MH370. This is a very serious test of the country's resilience.

Prime Minister Najib Razak and I have just discussed the aftermath of the disaster. We share three priorities: bringing the victims and their personal belongings home, determining the cause of the disaster, and ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

The Netherlands is working closely with Malaysia and Australia to achieve these goals. Sixty-eight Malaysian police officers are currently on their way and 24 Malaysian experts are helping with the identification of victims in Hilversum.

We specifically discussed the recent problems in gaining access to the crash site. We will have to seriously take into account the possibility that we will not be able to gain access in the coming days either. But you may rest assured that we will continue to try again and again to reach the crash site so that the experts can do their work.

The repatriation of the victims' bodies still has top priority for both our countries. As you know, the Netherlands has been given international leadership of the repatriation and forensic work. We owe it to all the countries whose nationals lost their lives in this disaster to carry out this work as quickly and carefully as possible.

It is very sad that both our countries are grieving. But it is inspiring to see how we are working together in these difficult times to bring the victims home.