Dutch and Australian Foreign Ministers meet to discuss state responsibility of Russia in downing of MH17

Foreign minister Stef Blok and his Australian counterpart Marise Payne have spoken in New York about their countries’ joint decision to hold Russia responsible for its part in downing flight MH17.

‘At the end of May the Netherlands and Australia asked Russia to enter into negotiations with us on the matter of state responsibility’, said minister Blok. ‘The Netherlands and Australia have been in contact with Russia through our diplomatic channels. It’s important that the negotiations can start in the foreseeable future.’

Although they had previously spoken, this was the first meeting between minister Blok and Payne, who succeeded Julie Bishop this month. ‘The Netherlands values the excellent cooperation with Australia with regard to MH17. We are fully confident that we can continue to work together productively in the future', Blok remarked.

Earlier today ministers Blok and Payne briefed their colleagues from the other countries of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) about their decision to hold Russia responsible. Another subject discussed at this meeting was the criminal investigation. ‘It was a good meeting, and once again, it was clear that the JIT countries have a shared goal: establishing the truth behind the downing of MH17 and prosecuting those responsible,’ minister Blok said. ‘The JIT’s independent investigation has our unconditional support, and we reaffirmed this during our meeting.’

In May the JIT presented evidence demonstrating that the Buk installation used to shoot down flight MH17 belonged to the Russian army. ‘The JIT’s conclusions are far-reaching and serious. More and more pieces of the puzzle are falling into place,’ minister Blok noted. ‘We and the other JIT countries again call on all countries to accept the facts established by the JIT.’