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

Yesterday and today 2 reconnaissance drives have been made, led by the OSCE. The goal was to determine whether the route is safe between Donetsk and the crash site of flight MH17. Until now the route is considered to be unsecure. Therefore we did not manage to travel to the crash site with the group of experts.

Unfortunately we don't expect the security situation to improve enough the next couple of days. The chances look slimmer for us to reach the crash site on short notice. There is too much fighting going on that prevent our people to travel through the area.

The experts have to work in a safe environment. Because of all the gunfire in the area, this is currently not possible. This is the reality we have to deal with.

Through intensive consultations with the OSCE, the Ukranian and the Australian authorities we keep trying to get access to the crash site. This is and remains our priority. Tommorow we will try again to travel to the crash site, after consultations with the OSCE. This depends of course on the security analysis.

Today there were consultations with the Malaysian authorities. Our goal was to integrate Malaysian experts into our mission. With that addition the mission is expanded to an international mission with experts from The Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia.

To summarize: we are in a difficult situation. We will keep negotiating with the OSCE to get entrance to the crash site as soon as possible. Our goal is and remains to return the human remains and personal belongings to the relatives.