Press statement by Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, head of the repatriation mission

This morning, we decided it was not safe enough to drive with the experts from Donetsk to the crash site of flight MH17. We took the decision after careful consultations with the OSCE.

We are again disappointed, because we are highly motivated to carry out our mission. As we have said before, we feel strongly that the relatives are entitled to have their loved ones and their personal belongings returned.

Our inability to reach the crash site is frustrating. We are losing valuable time to recover the victims' remains. However, we will not give up, and we intend to keep trying in the days ahead.

Together with the OSCE we are planning a new attempt to reach the crash site tomorrow, if the security situation allows it. Tomorrow morning will be assessed whether it is safe to travel to the crash site and a safe environment to work can be quaranteed.

Unfortunately the mission has proceeded less smoothly than we had hoped. Still, we will keep working tirelessly to achieve our goals: bringing back our loved ones and their belongings.