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Resolution 2166

The Security Council,

Deploring the downing of a civilian aircraft on an international flight, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, on 17 July in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, with the loss of all 298 passengers and crew on board,

Reaffirming the rules of international law that prohibit acts of violence that pose a threat to the safety of international civil aviation and emphasizing the importance of holding those responsible for violations of these rules to account,

Recalling its press statement of 18 July 2014,

Stressing the need for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines, noting in this regard the crucial role played by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in aircraft accident and incident investigations, and welcoming the decision by ICAO to send a team to work in coordination with the Ukrainian National Bureau of Incidents and Accidents Investigation of Civil Aircraft in this investigation, following a request for assistance by Ukraine to ICAO and others,

Expressing serious concern that armed groups in Ukraine have impeded immediate, safe, secure and unrestricted access to the crash site and the surrounding area for the appropriate investigating authorities, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and representatives of other relevant international organizations assisting the investigation in accordance with ICAO and other established procedures,

1. Condemns in the strongest terms the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine resulting in the tragic loss of 298 lives;

2. Reiterates its deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of this incident and to the people and governments of the victims’ countries of origin;

3. Supports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines;

4. Recognizes the efforts under way by Ukraine, working in coordination with ICAO and other international experts and organizations, including representatives of States of Occurrence, Registry, Operator, Design and Manufacture, as well as States who have lost nationals on MH17, to institute an international investigation of the incident, and calls on all States to provide any requested assistance to civil and criminal investigations related to this incident;

5. Expresses grave concern at reports of insufficient and limited access to the crash site;

6. Demands that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site, including by refraining from destroying, moving, or disturbing wreckage, equipment, debris, personal belongings, or remains, and immediately provide safe, secure, full and unrestricted access to the site and surrounding area for the appropriate investigating authorities, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and representatives of other relevant international organizations according to ICAO and other established procedures;

7. Demands that all military activities, including by armed groups, be immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation;

8. Insists on the dignified, respectful and professional treatment and recovery of the bodies of the victims, and calls upon all parties to ensure that this happens with immediate effect;

9. Calls on all States and actors in the region to cooperate fully in relation to the international investigation of the incident, including with respect to immediate and unrestricted access to the crash site as referred to in paragraph 6;

10. Welcomes in this regard the statement on 17 July 2014 by the Trilateral Contact Group of senior representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE and demands that the commitments outlined in that statement be implemented in full;

11. Demands that those responsible for this incident be held to account and that all States cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability;

12. Urges all parties to the Convention on International Civil Aviation to observe to the fullest extent applicable, the international rules, standards and practices concerning the safety of civil aviation, in order to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, and demands that all States and other actors refrain from acts of violence directed against civilian aircraft;

13. Welcomes the full cooperation of the United Nations offered by the Secretary-General in this investigation, and requests the Secretary-General to identify possible options for United Nations support to the investigation and to report to the Security Council on relevant developments;

14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

Debates

The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.

The President: I wish to warmly welcome the Ministers present at today’s meeting. Their participation is an affirmation of the importance of the subject matter under discussion.

In accordance with rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite the representatives of Belgium, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Ukraine and Viet Nam to participate in this meeting.

The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda.

Members of the Council have before them document S/2014/510, which contains the text of a draft resolution submitted by Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chad, Chile, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and Viet Nam.

It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before it. I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now.

A vote was taken by show of hands.

In favour:
Argentina, Australia, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America

The President: There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 2166 (2014).

I shall now give the floor to those members of the Security Council who wish to make statements after the voting.

Ms. Bishop (Australia): The adoption of resolution 2166 (2014) is a decisive step by the Security Council. It is an unambiguous response of the international community to an utterly deplorable act — the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board, including 80 children. The passengers were citizens of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines and the United Kingdom. The Governments of those countries have all co-sponsored this resolution today. For that I am deeply grateful. A number of victims were dual nationals of other countries. They were all innocent people on a commercial aircraft. Their plane was shot down over territory controlled by separatists in eastern Ukraine. This is an absolute outrage.

Our nation is devastated by the loss of so many Australians — 37 people who called Australia home. They were travelling home from Europe — a couple, both teachers, on holiday to celebrate their retirement; a 25-year-old travelling in Europe, like so many young Australians do. Yesterday, I spoke to a husband and wife from Perth who had been on a family holiday in Europe. They had decided to stay on for only a couple of days, while their three children — aged 12, 10 and 8 — had to return to school in Australia, so they went on ahead with their grandfather on Flight MH-17. The parents are inconsolable in their grief. Among the victims were scientists — medical researchers and doctors who were travelling to Melbourne for the International AIDS Conference that began yesterday. These were people who had dedicated their lives to helping others.

Our nation mourns the death of all the victims. I cannot begin to fathom the pain and anguish their families and friends are experiencing. But grief is now accompanied by outrage as we witness grotesque violations at the crash site. This demands a response. That is why Australia has brought this resolution to the Security Council. Today, the Security Council has responded.

Our resolution demands that armed groups in control of the crash site provide safe access immediately to allow for the recovery of the bodies, and that these armed groups stop any actions that compromise the integrity of the crash site. That is imperative. There must be a ceasefire in the immediate area around the site. The victims must be treated with dignity, brought back to their homes and laid to rest. All parties are required to fully cooperate with these efforts. Russia must use its influence over the separatists to ensure this. Russia must also use its influence to bring the conflict in Ukraine to an end.

Our resolution also demands a full, thorough and independent international investigation into this act. We must have answers. We must have justice. We owe it to the victims and their families to determine what happened and who was responsible. The resolution acknowledges the investigations already under way. It demands that safe, secure, full and unrestricted access to the crash site be provided so that the investigating authorities can carry out their work. It is despicable that this access is not being provided. It is an affront to the victims and their families. All States, armed groups — everyone — must cooperate with the investigation. We welcome the Secretary-General’s offer of assistance to the investigation. The United Nations will continue to have a crucial role to play.

The message from this Council to those who were responsible for this atrocity is definitive. They will be held to account for their actions. Australia will continue to do everything we can to ensure that this barbaric act is thoroughly investigated and that the perpetrators are brought to justice. We have an overriding objective to ensure dignity, respect and justice for those killed on MH-17. We will not rest until this is done. We will not rest until we bring them home.

Mr. Asselborn (Luxembourg) (spoke in French): Luxembourg welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2166 (2014). We commend Australia, and more specifically my colleague Julie Bishop, for having taken the initiative to prepare this important decision of the Council.

Luxembourg voted in favour of the resolution and co-sponsored it for three reasons: to condemn in the strongest terms the downing of a civilian aircraft of Malaysia Airlines above Donetsk oblast, Ukraine, on 17 July; to express our solidarity with the families and friends of the victims who were on board of Flight MH-17, as well as with their countries of origin; and finally, to express our support for the ongoing efforts to shed light on this catastrophe through a full, thorough and independent international investigation in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines. Such an investigation is the only way to determine who is responsible for this unspeakable act.

Despite everything that divides us on the crisis concerning Ukraine, the Security Council was finally able to reach a consensus on the resolution. That was the least we could do to honour the memory of the 298 victims of this catastrophe — 298 lives lost to a crisis for which they bore no responsibility whatsoever and that has gone on for too long.

On behalf of the people and the Government of Luxembourg, I would like to express our most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the 298 individuals who were on board of Flight MH-17. Among the victims was a family living in Luxembourg — an Anglo-Dutch couple and two of their sons, aged 12 and 14. We share the grief of the people and Governments of the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, Ireland and Viet Nam. Allow me to express a special thought for the Netherlands, a country with which we have close ties and which has been struck in a particularly cruel manner by this catastrophe. I salute my colleague and friend, Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans, who is with us today, and I assure him of our fraternal support in this difficult time.

Everything must now be done for the full implementation of the resolution we have just adopted. We must support the efforts being undertaken by Ukraine — in coordination with the International Civil Aviation Organization and international experts, including representatives of States that have lost nationals on board the aircraft — to institute an international investigation into the downing of Flight M H -17.

The behaviour of illegal armed groups present on the scene of the disaster is unacceptable. Those groups must comply with the demands of the Security Council and immediately provide safe, secure, full and unrestricted access to the crash site near the village of Grabovo, in eastern Ukraine, to the appropriate investigating authorities, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) special monitoring mission, and representatives of other relevant international organizations. The illegal armed groups must refrain from any further action that could compromise the integrity of the crash site, and immediately cease all military activities in the immediate area surrounding it. We welcome in this regard the decision by President Poroshenko to declare, with immediate effect, a unilateral ceasefire in a radius of 40 kilometres around the scene of the tragedy.

Resolution 2166 (2014) clearly underscores that the bodies of the victims must be treated in a dignified, respectful and professional manner. All parties concerned must ensure that that requirement is immediately observed.

We call on the Russian Federation to actively and unremittingly use its influence on the illegal armed groups so that they cease their actions and despicable manoeuvres to prevent a genuine and appropriate investigation. The Russian Federation must immediately bring its full weight to bear on those groups so that they cease to obstruct the investigation and to remove compelling evidence, in particular the remains of the missile used to bring down the plane. The bodies of the victims must be returned to their families and the black boxes must be handed over to the competent authorities.

The international investigation into the tragic incident of 17 July must establish the facts and responsibilities. In the resolution just adopted, the Council rightly demands that those responsible for the incident be held to account for that heinous act and that all States fully cooperate with the efforts to establish responsibility. The Security Council must remain vigilant in that regard on the basis of the reports on the investigation made to it by the Secretary-General. We owe it to the victims and their families that justice be done and that the perpetrators of that criminal act be held accountable.

The deaths of 298 innocent human beings leave a huge void. That disaster cruelly reminds us of the urgent need to achieve a de-escalation of tensions in eastern Ukraine. The crisis has lasted too long. Its toll in terms of the loss of human lives is mounting every day. We must step up diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the crisis. The first priority is to establish a true and lasting ceasefire that is observed by all parties in order to create the necessary conditions for the implementation of President Poroshenko’s peace plan.

In that regard, we welcome the efforts of France and Germany, as well as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, to promote dialogue between Russia and Ukraine. It is high time that all stakeholders, in particular the Russian Federation, cooperate in good faith in order to put an end to the crisis and so that 17 July appears in the history books as a day marked not only by the tragic deaths of 298 innocent people but also as a decisive turning point in settling the Ukrainian crisis.

Sir Mark Lyall Grant (United Kingdom): The United Kingdom welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2166 (2014). I would like to warmly thank Australia for its leadership in steering the resolution to adoption. I would also like to acknowledge the presence here today of the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Allow me to take this opportunity to reiterate our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the citizens and Governments of all those countries that lost nationals in the tragedy and are now in mourning. In the United Kingdom, we, too, are in mourning for the 10 Britons who were killed.

We have all seen the images of the blackened earth and the twisted metal. We have all seen those countless wooden stakes, each tied with a piece of white cloth fluttering in the cornfields of eastern Ukraine, marking the place of a family member or loved one. We owe it to the memory of those 298 victims to ensure that their remains are treated with dignity and respect. We owe it to them to find out exactly what happened on the afternoon of 17 July. That is the purpose of resolution 2166 (2014). It is a united demand by the whole international community for the dignified, respectful and professional treatment and recovery of the bodies of the victims.

What we have witessed over the past days has been sickening and appalling beyond belief. We have seen separatist thugs trampling over the site of the crash, showing no respect for the bodies of the victims, rifling through their belongings and even looting their personal effects. They have shown complete disregard for human dignity and have violated the established procedures for dealing with an incident of that nature.

First, the resolution requires the pro-Russian separatists in control of the crash site and the surrounding area to allow the bodies of the victims to be returned to their families as soon as possible. It is inexcusable that that process has been obstructed for the past four days.

Secondly, the resolution is about the investigation into what happened. It supports a full, thorough and independent international investigation and recognizes the steps already taken by the Ukrainian authorities and other international stakeholders, notably the International Civil Aviation Organization, to set that in motion. It demands that the separatists do not further compromise the integrity of the crash site.

We have all seen the images of cranes and other heavy machinery disturbing the wreckage, and the footage released yesterday that appears to show one of the flight recorders being removed from the site. That is completely unacceptable. The site must be preserved and investigators must immeditely be granted safe, secure, full and unrestricted access.

Finally, the Council is sending a strong message with regard to accountability. Those who were responsible and those who were complicit in the shooting down of Flight MH-17 must be held accountable for their actions. The resolution demands that all States cooperate fully with those efforts.

The context of the tragedy is Russia’s attempt to destabilize a sovereign State and to violate its territorial integrity. The events of the past four days should serve as a wake-up call in Moscow and prompt a profound re-examination of Russia’s policy of supporting, training and arming violent separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Mrs. Ogwu (Nigeria): In our intervention last Friday during the briefing on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 over Ukraine on 17 July (see S/PV.7219), we noted that the tragic and unfortunate incident could potentially mark a new dimension in the Ukrainian crisis that represented a grave threat to the safety of international civil aviation. That new global threat spurs us to consider what insecurity means to the human race. For that reason, we not only voted in favour of resolution 2166 (2014) but also sponsored it. Respect for international law, to the extent that it prohibits acts that threaten the safety of international civil aviation, is our guiding principle in the matter.

In adopting the resolution, the Council has once again demonstrated that, when it is united in purpose, it is capable of speaking with one voice in sending a strong message on matters of international peace and security. The resolution takes into account the concerns not only of members of the Security Council but also of well-intentioned nations around the world, in particular States that lost citizens in the crash. Principal among those concerns is the need for a comprehensive, thorough and independent international investigation in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines. It is crucially important for the outcome of the investigation to be credible and unimpeachable. In that regard, we welcome the involvement of the International Civil Aviation Organization, which has the appropriate expertise to share with the parties involved in the investigation.

No less significant is the question of accountability. The Security Council has demanded that those responsible for that heinous act be held accountable. We would like to emphasize that it is the obligation of States to cooperate fully in the efforts to find and to bring to justice those responsible for this brazen act, which violates not only international law but also the peace of the human race.

Mr. Oh Joon (Republic of Korea): The Republic of Korea welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2166 (2014), on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 in eastern Ukraine. On behalf of the people and the Government of the Republic of Korea, I once again extend my most heartfelt condolences to all the affected countries and bereaved families. We share their sorrow during this difficult time.

We would like to welcome the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, to whom we offer our solidarity.

We believe that the resolution we adopted today is a firm and united response by the international community to the heinous act of downing a civilian aircraft. The most urgent task before us at this moment is to establish the solid facts of what caused this tragedy to occur and who is responsible for it, through a full, thorough and independent international investigation. We recognize in particular the role of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Ukrainian Government in conducting such an international investigation. We have full confidence in the supporting role of the United Nations in that regard.

In order to shed full light on the tragedy, no less pressing is the need to preserve the integrity of the crash site and to secure immediate, safe and unrestricted access to it by competent international investigators. It is also vital that the bodies of the victims be recovered without delay and treated in a dignified and respectful manner. We very much hope that the resolution will be instrumental in ensuring a credible international investigation through its full implementation by all parties concerned, particularly the separatist armed groups.

The Security Council should remain vigilant as to developments on the ground and respond further if what is required by the resolution does not fully materialize.

We once again stress that the perpetrators of the incident, if it turns out to be the result of a deliberate attack, must be brought to justice as promptly as possible.

Ms. Power (United States of America): Today’s resolution 2166 (2014) calls for a full, through and independent investigation into the horrific downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17. When 298 civilians are killed, we agree that we must stop at nothing to determine who is responsible and to bring them to justice. As we take that step, we are joined by the Dutch and Australian Ministers whose countries suffered an immense and heart-wrenching loss on Thursday, one that they are still grappling with, together with nine other countries from where the victims came. We extend our deepest condolences to those countries, the families of the victims they represent and all of the people who lost loved ones on that plane. Their presence here today, along with representatives of the dozens of other countries struck by this heinous crime, gives even greater urgency to our calls for the dignified return of the victims and to our pursuit of truth and justice.

As we reflect on the immeasurable loss suffered by those families around the world, we are not only outraged at the attack itself, we are horrified and enraged by what has happened since — by the clear intention of some to obstruct an investigation into how the passengers and crew died. Even after adopting today’s resolution, it is worth asking if there really is consensus that the crime merits an immediate and impartial investigation. Why did we still feel the need to meet today in order to demand one? We came together because not everyone has been supporting a real investigation into the crime. If they were, international experts would have had unimpeded access to the crime scene and all of the wreckage would have been left where it had fallen.

That has not happened. Instead, armed thugs have walked around the site with little regard for where they step. We have literally heard the sound of debris, all of it evidence that needs to be carefully preserved, crunching beneath their feet. We have seen separatists moving human remains around and carting away evidence from the site. All around the world this weekend, people of all cultures and faiths had similar reactions to seeing the footage of the separatists damaging the site. “Stop, those are people! Those are peoples’ lives!”, we all said.

The passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 had nothing to do with the conflict in eastern Ukraine. They were families heading out on vacation, students returning home from abroad, researchers trying to eradicate a deadly disease. Those who were killed deserve to be treated with dignity. Their families are crying out, as we have heard, for closure.

We condemn the actions of the separatists who control the site. Indeed, almost everyone has condemned that grotesque behaviour. But there is one party from which we have heard too little condemnation, and that is Russia. Russia has been outspoken on other matters. Russian officials have publicly insinuated that Ukraine was behind the crash. On Friday, Russia blamed Ukrainian air traffic controllers for the attack, rather than condemning the criminals who shot down the plane. Since then, Russia has begun to blame Ukraine for the attack itself, although the missile came from separatist territory that Russia knows full well Ukraine has not yet reclaimed. But if Russia genuinely believed that Ukraine was involved in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, surely President Putin would have told the separatists, many of whose leaders are from Russia, to guard the evidence at all costs and to maintain a forensically pure hermetically sealed crime scene.

We welcome Russia’s support for today’s resolution. But no resolution would have been necessary had Russia used its leverage with the separatists on Thursday and gotten them to lay down their arms and leave the site to international experts — or on Friday, or on Saturday, or even yesterday. It turns out that only this morning, coincidentally the very morning Security Council was meeting to discuss the investigation, did President Putin finally issue a public call to ensure the security of international experts. However — and this is critically important — President Putin still did not direct his call to the separatists, who have threatened those experts and over whom he has enormous influence.

President Poroshenko, by contrast, has consistently done everything within his power since the crash to allow capable investigators full and unfettered access to the crime scene. He has been willing to involve the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Netherlands and other international players, and has hailed their independence. Russia’s muteness over the dark days between Thursday and today sent a message to the illegal armed groups it supports: “We have your backs”. That is the message Russia has sent by providing separatists with heavy weapons, by never publicly calling on them to lay down those weapons and by massing thousands of troops at the Ukrainian border.

Today we have taken a step towards combating impunity. The resolution we have adopted provides clear directions to safeguard and uncover the facts, however inconvenient those facts may prove to be. We have adopted a resolution today, but we are not naive. If Russia is not part of the solution, it will continue to be part of the problem. For the past six months, Russia has seized Ukrainian territory and ignored the repeated requests of the international community to de-escalate, all in an effort to preserve influence in Ukraine, a country that has long made clear its desire to maintain constructive ties with Moscow. Russia must recognize that no move on the geopolitical chessboard and no zero-sum game with the West can offset the pain being felt by the passengers’ families worldwide, or the pain that Ukrainians are experiencing daily as a result of this needless conflict.

As we meet, we are seeing initial signs of the separatists’ allowing greater access to crash site. Today, three Dutch investigators accessed the site. The separatists are attempting to hold that up as proof of their openness and good faith. But let us be clear: this is an extremely complex and time-sensitive crime scene. In that context, a spigot approach, letting in a few investigators here and a few more there, simply will not cut it. Access must be immediate and it must be full, period. A spigot, or a stage-managed, approach is a form of obstruction.

Russia can help change that. Russia can unequivocally condemn the separatists’ inhumane treatment of the bodies at the site and use its influence to ensure they stop tampering with evidence. Russia can demand that the separatists immediately adopt a ceasefire in the area around the crash site, as Ukraine has done. Russia can press the illegal groups to sit down with President Poroshenko, who has proposed a serious and reasonable peace plan. Instead of continuing to provide weapons to the separatists, Russia could take back all of the surface-to-air missiles, tanks and other heavy weaponry that it has delivered to them. Those would not only be important steps towards achieving accountability and achieving justice for the victims, they would constitute a long overdue sign that Russia is willing to take steps to end this deadly crisis.

Mr. Liu Jieyi (China) (spoke in Chinese): China voted in favour of resolution 2166 (2014), which the Council just adopted. China deplores the crash of

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 in eastern Ukraine, which resulted in the loss of the 298 lives aboard. In his recent statement while visiting Latin American countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed shock at the crash, mourned the death of all the victims and expressed condolences to the bereaved families. He also stressed that an impartial and objective investigation into this incident be undertaken so as to establish the truth as soon as possible.

China supports an independent, impartial and objective investigation into this incident. As a specialized agency of the United Nations dealing with international civil aviation affairs, the International Civil Aviation Organization should play a crucial role in an international investigation. China calls on all the parties to collaborate and cooperate with the international investigation. China believes that our current focus should be on establishing the truth of the crash. Pending that, all sides should not jump to conclusions or engage in conjecture or mutual recrimination. We believe that the unanimous action by the Council today will help to enhance mutual trust and cooperation among all sides and to facilitate swift progress in the investigation.

Mr. Barros Melet (Chile) (spoke in Spanish): Let me begin by thanking the delegation of Australia for preparing today’s resolution, as well as by welcoming the flexibility shown by Member States in its negotiation. The delegation of Chile sponsored and voted in favour of resolution 2166 (2014), as we believe that this is the appropriate response by the Council and that it sends a clear message about the need for an international investigation to be conducted that would be full, exhaustive and independent to look into the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH-17, in keeping with international law.

By its unanimous adoption the resolution, the Security Council has taken an important and necessary step towards clarifying facts and guaranteeing that those responsible for this incident be held accountable for their actions. This type of act cannot go unpunished. The families of the victims have the right to know the truth. That is why we once again urge all States, in keeping with their obligations under international law and under the relevant resolutions of the Council, to actively cooperate with the relevant authorities.

On behalf of my country, I would like to reiterate our solidarity and our most heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Governments whose citizens were among the victims of this event. We hope that this terrible incident will serve as a reminder of how this crisis affects countries and families beyond the borders of Ukraine and of the need to resolve it.

Mr. Bertoux (France) (spoke in French): The emotion that was upon us on Friday has not left us, but today we have gathered to act. Resolution 2166 (2014), which we have just adopted at the initiative of Australia, underscores the importance of quickly conducting an investigation into the circumstances of this abominable tragedy. We owe it to the families of those who have perished, as the presence of many nationalities represented here today shows. Once again, we want to express our profound condolences and our complete solidarity in this ordeal. In that regard, we welcome the presence among us of the Ministers from Australia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

In adopting this resolution, the international community has taken a first step towards shedding light on this tragedy, establishing responsibilities and meeting the demands of justice. Resolution 2166 (2014) bolsters the existing framework that should apply in this matter. In keeping with the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is up to Ukraine, with the assistance of all those impacted by the disaster, especially experts from the International Civil Aviation Organization, to lead the work of the international investigation.

The resolution also demands that everything be done to facilitate the rapid work of the investigators. Henceforth, all parties and States in the region must guarantee immediate and unfettered access to the site of the disaster, to the remains of the victims and to material elements necessary for the investigation.

We would like to express our grave alarm about the fact that reports available to us continue to indicate repeated obstruction by the separatists. We demand that the disaster site no longer be profaned, that it not be altered and that it not be manipulated. The revolting, shameful and, ultimately, inhuman actions must stop.

The resolution asks the Secretary-General to present options to the Security Council in order to provide support to the investigation and give an account of its developments.

The resolution also recalls that those responsible for the disaster will have to answer for their heinous acts. The investigation that we support today through resolution 2166 (2014) must be pursued to its end. France will ensure that this happens.

We will never forget the 298 innocent victims struck down in the Ukrainian skies.

Mr. Naber (Jordan) (spoke in Arabic): On behalf of the Government and the people of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, allow me to extend my heartfelt condolences to the Governments and families of the victims of the Malaysian airliner downed over eastern Ukraine as a result of a criminal act.

My delegation welcomes the Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2166 (2014), which we sponsored and voted for out of our deep belief in the importance of unveiling the truth surrounding this incident by way of a thorough independent international investigation, with a view to holding the perpetrators of this crime accountable and to attain justice.

In addition to the impact of bringing closure to the victims’ families, we underscore the importance of all the relevant parties cooperating in the implementation of the resolution as soon as possible. The site of the incident must be safeguarded and the investigators must be granted unfettered access free of manipulation.

Mrs. Perceval (Argentina) (spoke in Spanish): I would first like respectfully to welcome the presence of Ms. Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia. On behalf of the Government and the people of my country, I convey to her our sincere condolences. I also extend the same to the families, the peoples and the Governments of all the victims. I also acknowledge the presence of the Foreign Ministers of Luxembourg and of the Netherlands, to whom we express our most heartfelt and profound solidarity.

Argentina would like to underscore the valuable work undertaken by the Australian delegation in facilitating the Council’s consensus adoption of a timely and necessary resolution. Such consensus is especially important given that the text put forward by Australia takes into account various different points of view and concerns on the part of members of this body, thereby illustrating the ethic of collective responsibility prevailing and the unambiguous priority of contributing, based on the Council’s prerogatives, to shedding light on this emotional event in order to arrive at the truth of what occurred in a reliable, objective and effective manner. That is what the victims and the entire international community deserve. The international community has a right to safe aviation without being subjected to acts that possibly violate international law. It should be fundamentally so as well as under the most basic elements of respect for the dignity of human life.

Given the reports received in the past few days about the limited access to the disaster site in Ukraine encountered by the authorities responsible for the investigation, the special monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and representatives of other international organizations, the Security Council could not remain silent or indifferent. It thus became as essential to express our heartfelt concern over the possible obstacles encountered by those responsible for the investigation, as to demand that immediate safe, full and unimpeded access be guaranteed to the site of the incident, while preventing any action that might compromise the site’s integrity.

Although the Security Council underscored that need clearly in its press communiqué of 18 July, today we find ourselves morally and institutionally compelled to demand the same. This continues to be the sole and the unanimous demand not just of the Council but of the entire world: that an immediate international inquiry be carried out under international civil aviation guidelines, leading to a thorough and effective independent investigation into the incident to determine objectively and unequivocally what occurred, and, based on the evidence gathered thereby, urging that the legal bodies with jurisdiction hold the perpetrators to account before justice for their acts.

Just as clearly and forcefully, we demand that any investigation be conducted free of any obstacles and based on the norms, principles and procedures set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organization and other international procedures on civil aviation.

By resolution 2166 (2014), the Council demands that all military activities cease around the area of the incident and that a safe environment be established in the area to provide access to investigators.

Argentina welcomes all the efforts being made by various States and organizations with a view to coordinating the various steps required for an impartial and coherent international investigation process.

We would also like to highlight the cooperation offered by the Secretary-General. In the resolution, the Council calls on him to identify possible options for the Organization to develop. It also requests that he keep the Council informed.

On 18 July Argentina said that we should be prudent at this painful and difficult moment (see S/PV.7219), including the members of the Council. We reiterate that today, for now is not the time to profer opinions or analyses of what happened based on geopolitical disputes, nor to engage in pointless accusation. The gravity and the pain resulting from this incident require serenity and reflection and, by way of reliable mechanisms, arriving at the full truth of the events and determining who is responsible.

In conclusion, Argentina sponsored and voted in favour of today’s resolution. We have joined in the call for all States and actors in the region to fully cooperate with the investigation and to ensure the respectful and dignified treatment of the remains of the victims.

Mr. Churkin (Russian Federation) (spoke in Russian): On behalf of the Russian Federation, allow me once again to convey our condolences to the families of all of those who lost their lives and to the Governments of those countries whose nationals were aboard the plane that went down in Ukraine on 17 July.

There is the need for a full, impartial, independent and open international investigation into the Malaysia Airlines disaster. That is the aim of resolution 2166 (2014), which was prepared with our active participation and which we support. Clarifying the context of this event should take place with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in a leading role, as well as with the participation of all who stand ready to shed light on the truth. All evidence, including the black boxes, should be provided to ICAO to examine under the framework of an international investigation. Conditions must be created on the ground to facilitate access for international teams of experts. Every possible effort must be made to focus on guaranteeing full security for international experts at the crash site and on providing them with, as it were, humanitarian corridors.

Representatives from Donbass, Donetsk, the Ukrainian Ministry of Emergencies and experts from interested countries are already present on the ground. But that is not enough. A full team of experts must be at the crash site, under ICAO and a relevant international commission. For its part, Russia stands ready to provide all the assistance necessary to organize and conduct impartial international investigations. In that context, Russian military personnel and civilian bodies have already received the necessary instructions. We are ready to provide experts to participate and carry out investigations.

However, it is not the time for snap conclusions or political statements. What is happening today is absolutely inadmissible. It seems that Kyiv is attempting to draw on the shock of the international community in the light of the downing of Flight MH-17 in order to step up its punitive operations in the eastern part of the country. Indiscriminate artillery and air strikes are targeting cities and killing civilians. We would like to ask those Council members that affirmed in this Chamber that Kyiv would act with “restraint” to explain the strange meaning they assign to that word.

We understand how the people who lost family and friends feel. Russia found itself in a similar tragic situation in October 2001 when, in the skies over the Black Sea, an anti-aircraft missile downed a Russian passenger flight flying from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk. Seventy-eight people aboard were killed. The circumstances became clear immediately after the accident and were confirmed by independent international experts. However, to this day Ukraine rejects its legal responsibility in that regard. Given that record, it would be quite reckless to give Kyiv a leading role in conducting an international investigation into the 17 July incident.

In the course of the investigation, Ukraine will have to answer several questions with regard to the activities of its air traffic controllers and the reason that a Ukrainian Buk missile system was in the area directly controlled by rebels. Why was it that, immediately following the downing of the flight, that missile battery was hastily removed from the area? Why was Ukrainian anti-aircraft radar working at maximum capacity on 17 July? Those are some of the questions raised by Russia’s Ministry of Defence, about which international investigators will have to be informed.

Up to now, Kyiv has provided doctored evidence to the Security Council — for example, the controversial recordings of the radio communications involving rebel commanders, which seem to have been altered to refer to negotiations that took place before 17 July. Ukraine’s Minister for Internal Affairs put forward a video that somehow showed a surface-to-air Buk system on Russian territory, but which was in fact filmed on Ukranian territory and thus could not have been under rebel control.

Let us not forget that an armed clash in the area of the crash site was the reason for the 17 July incident. Today’s priority is to put a swift end to clashes and violence and to establish peaceful negotiations on the basis of the 17 April Geneva declaration and the 2 July Berlin statement. We continue to fully participate in that effort.

I was going to conclude there, but I have an additional comment to make.

I had thought that today’s meeting would not have been controversial. However, the representative of the United States opted for a literary track. Perhaps Washington does not know about the efforts that Russia has made in the context of the contact group, among others, to ensure that international experts can go to the area of the crash as soon as possible. If that is so, then the American Embassy should be better informed. Indeed, there is no need to turn the discussion of this tragedy into a farce.

Mr. Baublys (Lithuania): The international community has been in painful shock since the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in the Donetsk oblast of Ukraine on Thursday. Having heard the statements today, I believe all of us are still in a state of disbelief.

Ukrainian and international investigators and observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have been impeded by illegal armed groups from securing, investigating and collecting evidence at the crash site. Black boxes apparently remain in the hands of armed terrorists. Inexplicably, tampering with evidence has been taking place. Only today, after sustained pressure on the Russian authorities, were OSCE observers allowed access to the site.

By depriving 298 loved ones, including 80 children, of the right to live, this tragedy has touched us all. The Government of Lithuania extends its deepest sympathy and condolences and shares the grief of all those families in this time of bereavement.

The remains of the victims must be treated with dignity and be returned to the families as soon as possible.

In the face of this unjustifiable incident, we look forward to a thorough and independent international investigation in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines. The perpetrators of this despicable crime must be brought to justice. Impunity will not go unpunished.

We welcome the unanimous adoption of resolution 2166 (2014) today. Thirteen Council members, including Lithuania, sponsored the resolution. The resolution requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the relevant developments and to identify options for providing United Nations support to the investigation. We ask the Secretary-General to do that as soon as possible.

We commend Ukraine for its enormous efforts to convene an objective, transparent and full investigation. We commend the announcement by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of an immediate ceasefire within a 40-kilometre radius around the crash site. Do we expect a similar announcement from illegally armed groups and their backers?

The responsibility for the downing of Flight MH-17 lies with those who have been orchestrating the increasing flow of foreign fighters, arms and heavy military equipment to the east of Ukraine. That is part of the armed aggression.

Lithuania urges Russia to unequivocally distance itself from any kind of direct or indirect support to terrorists, separatists and foreign fighters in eastern Ukraine.

The ongoing illegal criminal activities by the so- called Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic are appalling. The numbers of civilians killed, injured or evicted increase every day. Armed gangs do not care about civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk, their human rights or their welfare. Both groups are headed for the terror list.

Tomorrow the Foreign Ministers of European Union will consider additional measures against those stoking the conflict in Ukraine. We urge States to stop military cooperation with Russia until Russia unequivocally commits to the peace, security and stability of its neighbours, including Ukraine.

Mr. Cherif (Chad) (spoke in French): I welcome the presence among us of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Chad reiterates its deepest condolences to the families of the 298 victims and to the States that lost citizens in the crash.

Chad commends Australia on its initiative. We also welcome the consensus among all the members of the Security Council with regard to resolution 2166 (2014), which we have just adopted. We also welcome the commitment and resolute determination of the Council to give an effective and appropriate response commensurate with this tragedy.

By sponsoring and voting in favour of this resolution, Chad hopes that full light will be shed on this heinous crime, which has taken nearly 300 innocent lives. In that connection, Chad demands guaranteed unhindered access to the crash and for the security of the international experts on the ground, so that they can fully independently and with complete transparency carry out the investigation under the authority of the Government of Ukraine, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Netherlands and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We underscore the need to safeguard the integrity of the crash site, so as to make it possible for the investigation to deliver the results expected of it.

The perpetrators of this tragedy must be identified and brought to justice. All the States Members of the United Nations must cooperate in establishing the facts and ascribing responsibility.

The President (Rwanda): I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the representative of Rwanda.

First of all, I would like to thank Australia for introducing resolution 2166 (2014), on the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the presence among us of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Luxembourg and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. There is no doubt that this incident has shocked the world and taxed us all, in particular the families and nations grieving their loved ones. I take this opportunity to once again offer the deepest sympathies and condolences of the President and the people of Rwanda to the families and to the Governments and compatriots of the 298 victims.

Rwanda co-sponsored and voted in favour of resolution 2166 (2014) primarily because, as a matter of principle, the deceased and their families must be accorded the utmost respect and the dignity that they deserve. We believe also that it is important that the facts surrounding the downing of this plane be established and that the perpetrators of this heinous crime be identified and brought to justice.

We were extremely troubled at the fact that separatist groups in eastern Ukraine have been obstructing and denying access to the crash site, not to mention removing bodies and the material elements necessary for the investigation. We condemn this behaviour in the strongest terms.

Let me recall that resolution 2166 (2014), which we just adopted, supports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident, in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines. The resolution further demands that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the site. In that regard, we urge the separatists to fully implement, without excuses or preconditions, their commitment made on 17 July in a videoconference with the Trilateral Contact Group.

Finally, Rwanda reiterates its call on the separatist groups in eastern Ukraine to respect the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, to adhere to a sustainable ceasefire, as requested by the 2 July joint declaration by the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, France and Germany, and to engage in a political dialogue with the Ukrainian Government based on President Poroshenko’s peace plan.

I now resume my functions as President of the Council.

I now give the floor to His Excellency Minister Franciscus Timmermans, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Mr. Timmermans (Netherlands): I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for allowing me to speak here today.

We are here to discuss a tragedy: the downing of a commercial airliner and the death of 298 innocent people. Men, women and a staggering number of children lost their lives on their way to their holiday destinations, homes, loved ones or international obligations such as the important HIV/AIDS conference in Australia. Since Thursday, I have been thinking how horrible must have been the final moments of their lives, when they knew the plane was going down. Did they lock hands with their loved ones, did they hold their children close to their hearts, did they look each other in the eyes, one final time, in a wordless goodbye? We will never know.

The demise of almost 200 of my compatriots has left a hole in the heart of the Dutch nation, and it has caused grief, anger and despair — grief at the loss of loved ones, anger at the outrage of the downing of a civilian airplane, and despair after witnessing the excruciatingly slow process of securing the crash site and recovering the remains of the victims.

It is fitting that the Council should take a position on this matter, and I welcome the adoption of today’s resolution 2166 (2014), which was submitted by Australia and which the Netherlands co-sponsored. I thank the countries that expressed support for it, and I particularly want to thank Julie Bishop personally. Julie, we are in this together.

For the Netherlands, one priority clearly stands out above all others: bring the victims’ remains home. It is a matter of human decency that remains should be treated with respect and that recovering victims’ remains should be done without any delay.

In the last couple of days, we have received very disturbing reports of bodies being moved about and looted for their possessions. Just for one minute — and here I address you not as representatives of your countries but as husbands and wives, fathers and mothers — just imagine that you first get the news that your husband was killed, and then within two or three days you see images of some thug removing the wedding band from his hand. Just imagine that this could be your spouse. To my dying day I will not be able to understand how it could have taken so much time for the rescue workers to be allowed to do their difficult jobs and how human remains could have been used in a political game. If someone here around the table talks about a political game, this is a political game that has been played with human remains, and it is despicable. I hope that the world will not have to witness this again any time in future.

Images of children’s toys being tossed around, luggage being opened and passports — including children’s passports — being shown on television are turning the grief and mourning of a whole nation into anger. We demand unimpeded access to the terrain. We demand respectful treatment of the crash site. We demand dignity for the victims and the multitudes who mourn their loss.

I call on the international community, on the Security Council, on anyone with influence on the situation on the ground: allow us to bring the victims’ remains home to their loved ones without any further delay. They deserve to be home.

As we are currently taking the lead in the forensic examination of the human remains, I pledge that the Netherlands will do its utmost to make sure that all remains will be identified and returned home, wherever that home may be. We will work intensively with all countries and international organizations involved to make this happen as soon as possible.

I also welcome the setting up of a proper investigation into the cause of the tragedy of MH-17, as envisaged in today’s resolution. The Netherlands has agreed to assume a leading role in such an investigation, in close cooperation with the relevant countries, the United Nations and the International Civil Aviation Organization. I am fully aware of the great responsibility we now take upon ourselves, and I give my personal commitment that we will discharge this responsibility to the best of our abilities.

As far as the safety and security of the site and the international investigators is concerned, I underline the responsibility that the Security Council took upon itself with today’s resolution to take additional measures if circumstances so require.

Once the investigation ascertains who was responsible for the downing of Flight MH-17, accountability and justice must be pursued and delivered. We owe it to the victims; we owe it to justice; we owe it to humanity. Please, provide full cooperation so that justice can be served. We will not rest until all facts are known and justice has been served.

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of Malaysia.

Mr. Haniff (Malaysia): I wish to acknowledge the presence of the Foreign Minsiters of Australia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for giving my delegation the opportunity to address the Council at this point in time. I also wish to thank all Council members, in particular the delegation of Australia, for their efforts in coordinating and presenting resolution 2166 (2014). We welcome its unanimous adoption by the Security Council today.

As one of the countries most severely affected by the tragedy of Flight MH-17, Malaysia attaches great importance to the resolution. For my delegation, the resolution lays the groundwork for the approach to be taken by the international community, in particular the United Nations system and its mechanisms, towards addressing the many questions raised by the downing of Flight MH-17. I wish to underscore that no number of measures will ever compensate or assuage the grief and suffering of the families and loved ones of the victims who were on board Flight MH-17. It is incumbent upon us, as members of the United Nations family, to honour the victims by undertaking a full, thorough and independent investigation into the downing of Flight MH-17.

Last Friday, during the Council’s emergency meeting on Ukraine (see S/PV.7219), I informed the Council that Malaysia would immediately dispatch a team to Kyiv with a view to assisting in the investigation of Flight MH-17. That team arrived in Kyiv on Saturday, 19 July. The Malaysian team in Kyiv has joined other national teams from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States in what is known as the joint international investigation team.

Malaysia regrets to note that, as of today, the joint international investigation team has yet to be given full access to the crash site. Malaysia finds that lack of full access unacceptable and reiterates its call on all States and actors in the region to cooperate fully in the conduct of the international investigation, including by being given immediate and unrestricted access to the crash site. It also calls for full guarantees to be provided for the safety and security of the investigation teams.

At the same time, all parties must exert all efforts to preserve the integrity of the crash site with a view to facilitating the work of the investigation teams. Such guarantees must also extend to the dignified and respectful treatment of the bodies and remains of the victims. For Malaysia, one of the key mission priorities of our investigation team is the recovery, identification and repatriation of the bodies and remains of the victims. That is to ensure that their families and loved ones can have closure and that the victims are accorded the dignity of a proper burial.

Flight MH-I7 was a civilian airliner. If it is subsequently established that the plane was indeed shot down, we demand that those responsible for downing the plane be held to account and be swiftly brought to justice. We believe that the current resolution paves the way for such efforts and, as such, we firmly supported it by co-sponsoring resolution 2166 (2014). We now look forward to its full implementation by all concerned parties.

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of Indonesia.

Mr. Percaya (Indonesia): The tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 has left us all shocked and in deep sadness. We are all in mourning. However, the grief is even greater for the families and friends who are dealing with the loss of their loved ones. As the struggle to understand the loss of so many innocent lives in the crash of Flight MH-17 continues, witnessing the current situation, especially for the families of the victims, is deeply painful. We share their pain and their sorrow.

Since the incident, we have seen various initiatives and efforts undertaken by many countries to investigate the incident, which we greatly welcome. Indonesia wishes to emphasize that, even when it comes to humanitarian tragedies, all parties must cooperate. In that regard, they should collaborate and assist the peoples and Governments of the victims’ countries of origin. We therefore welcome the adoption of resolution 2166 (2014), which Indonesia co-sponsored, on this particular issue. In that regard, we also commend Australia for taking the initiative.

Our delegation is pleased that the Council, through the resolution, demands full and unrestricted access to the crash site and surrounding area for the appropriate parties and supports a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident. For Indonesia, as well as the rest of the international community, it is also important for the evacuation of the victims’ bodies to be treated in a dignified, respectful and professional manner and to ensure that the process begins immediately. We also underscore that the victims’ bodies must be returned home without any further delay.

Indonesia reiterates its strong support and assistance for the investigation process, including by joining the mission to help identify the victims of Flight MH-17. As the tragic and wanton loss of life is felt around the world, we also demand that those responsible for that inhuman incident be held accountable for their heinous crime. We are aware that such a process will not bring back the daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers or friends of the families who are struggling to cope with their immeasurable loss. However, justice must be served and we urge all concerned countries and entities to fully play their role to ensure that that, along with the other requirements stated in the resolution, happens.

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of Ukraine.

Mr. Sergeyev (Ukraine): I thank the Council for having convened this meeting. I would like to reiterate our deeepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed. Today, all of Ukraine is mourning. Ukraine is approaching the embassies of the Netherlands, Malaysia. Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines and Canada in order to lay flowers and to express its sorrow.

We would like to thank the delegation of Australia for having proposed resolution 2166 (2014) on the investigation of the downing of the civilian aircraft on an international flight, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, which the delegation of Ukraine co-sponsored. We believe that the resolution will help to facilitate a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines.

Having shown our utmost openness, the same day, immediately following the crash, Ukraine invited the International Civil Aviation Organization, INTERPOL and representatives of all countries that lost their nationals in the tragedy, as well as the Russian Federation, to participate in the investigation. Some of them have already arrived in Ukraine and started their work in Kharkiv.

President Poroshenko gave the order that all military activities immediately cease in the 40 kilometre zone surrounding the crash site to allow for the security and safety of the international investigation. We therefore call on the Russian Federation to use all its influence on the pro-Russian armed groups operating illegally in the Donetsk region in order to stop military activities on their side and ensure secure access to the crash site. We assume that the investigation should be allowed to establish not only the technical cause of the crash but also the other important circumstances, namely, who had actually fired the missile and how the high-precision long-range weapons got into the hands of illegal armed groups. Where did the weapons come from?

In accordance with the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, as was mentioned in the statement by the representative of France, Ukraine has a right to head the investigation procedure. It is also our right to share that leadership. The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mr. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, stated today in an address that Ukraine is ready to transfer the role of coordinator in investigating the crash of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, at that country’s request. In his remarks, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said,

“as the side that suffered the most, the Netherlands may lead the investigation in close coordination and cooperation with all other parties. All Ukrainian law enforcement bodies and international partners are already involved in conducting an all-encompassing, transparent and full-fledged international investigation of the tragedy”.

We particularly strongly condemn the morally repulsive acts committed by illegal armed groups controlling the crash site. According to the reports of local citizens of Alchevsk, in the Luhansk region, valuables belonging to the victims of the plane crash were brought by terrorists in a previously stolen ambulance to the city, where they boasted about their trophies — children’s bags, suitcases and foreign currency that they managed to collect and steal from the crash site. That demonstrates the lack of humanity of those who call themselves “the People’s Republic”. The fact that during the last three days the illegal armed groups were impeding the appropriate investigating authorities, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and others from gaining safe, secure and unrestricted access to the crash site and the surrounding area is proof that they are trying to hide evidence from the international community.

Let me quote the President of Ukraine:

“Having shot down the aircraft, militants committed three crimes — the terrorist act of firing a missile at a civilian aircraft; offensive mistreatment of dead bodies, particularly their removal; and the destruction of evidence and the hindering of the work not only of the Ukrainian Commission of Inquiry but also of the international experts of the International Civil Aviation Organization Commission”.

The so-called Luhansk and Donetsk Republics must be recognized as terrorist organizations, not only in Ukraine, but throughout the world. Cooperation with them must be considered a support for terrorism.

The persistence of illegal terrorist military activity has been possible only with the Russian Federation’s direct and overt support, despite continued calls by Ukraine and the international community to stop. Although officials in Moscow have constantly and tirelessly insisted that they were not involved in the situation in Donbass region, the irrefutable facts clearly indicate the opposite.

Russian citizens are members of the leadership of the terrorist groups. Heavy armaments and ammunition continues to be supplied from the Russian side of the State border. Just yesterday, a column of heavy armoured battle vehicles attempted to break into Ukraine through the border with the Russian territory at border checkpoint Izvarino. Russia is financing the terrorists. Numerous provocations are happening on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

What Russia is declaring thus does not square with its actions. Ukraine demands that the Russian side immediately cease provocations on the State border with Ukraine, stop hindering efforts of the Ukrainian side and the international community to put an end to terrorism and other violence in Donetsk and Luhansk, which are Oblasts of Ukraine, return to President Poroshenko’s peace plan, withdraw its forces from the Ukrainian border and stop threatening peace and security in our country, the region and the world as whole.

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of Belgium.

Mr. Buffin (Belgium): Mr. President, I thank you for giving me the floor and for allowing me to explain the position of the Belgian Government with regard to resolution 2166 (20140, which was adopted today and which Belgium decided to co-sponsor. Last Friday, before the Security Council, Belgium supported the Australian proposal for a Security Council resolution. We are grateful to Australia for preparing the text that was adopted today and would like to thank all countries that expressed support for it.

Belgium has condemned in the strongest terms the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17. Belgium reiterates its call of last Friday for an immediate, full, thorough and independent international investigation, led by Ukraine in close cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization. Despite some recent positive developments, Belgium remains very concerned about the continued lack of full access to the crash site. Belgium is deeply disturbed about the reports of representatives of armed groups meddling with wreckage, equipment, debris, personal belongings and remains. Our first priority now must be the identification and repatriation of the bodies of the victims. We demand that this be done in a dignified, respectful and professional manner. Belgium stands ready to support all efforts in that regard.

We call on all parties, especially those in the region, to use their influence on the actors on the ground to allow for immediate access and the start of the international investigation. The adoption by consensus of resolution 2166 (2014) today should contribute to that. We also call for international and regional cooperation and commend, in particular, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for the constructive role it has played so far.

Today is Belgian National Day, but our nation is still in mourning for the six Belgians who lost their lives in this terrible incident and for all the victims, wherever it was they called home. Our special thoughts and sympathy go to the families and friends of the 193 victims of the Netherlands, a country that is particularly close and dear to us.

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of New Zealand.

Mr. McLay (New Zealand): New Zealand welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2166 (2014) by the Security Council. We were pleased to have been a sponsor and compliment Australia on the leadership it has shown on the issue. It was imperative that the Council send a strong and united message that the international investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 must proceed without delay, that the integrity of the crash site be preserved and that respect and dignity be accorded to those who have died. It is, as Foreign Minister Bishop has said, a decisive step.

New Zealand strongly supports the resolution’s call for an independent investigation led by Ukraine in close coordination with International Civil Aviation Organization experts and other international experts, not least the Netherlands in the role that was outlined for us a short time ago by Foreign Minister Timmermans. We now appear to be in a situation where some of that cooperation is now at hand. But we must still wait to see the extent to which it eventuates.

There is increasing evidence that the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 was not an accident, that it was a criminal act, punishable under national and international law, and those responsible must be brought to account. We specifically call on all countries involved to act in accordance with their international legal obligations. That means that the crash site is a crime scene, but reports indicate that access has been denied by local separatists and that they have removed evidence, including the black boxes that are so critical to air accident investigations. Now it appears that they have been handed over, but they should never have been touched by unauthorized personnel. Even worse has been the removal of the bodies of victims.

We call on those people to cooperate with international authorities immediately and unreservedly, particularly to allow a full, safe and unfettered corridor of access to the site. We also call on Russia to use its influence with those groups to ensure that progress is made, and that it is made immediately. The integrity of the crash site must be preserved, and bodies must be accorded proper respect, as must personal effects, including passports. Those who loot bodies or who play with the toys that have fallen from the hands of children are beneath contempt. The victims are not being treated with appropriate dignity. Such callousness is insulting to the victims and brings further and unnecessary suffering to grieving families. It is utterly unacceptable. Reports that bodies are now being removed to Amsterdam are welcome, but that is the dignified treatment they merited days ago, not just now.

Resolution 2166 (2014) demonstrates the international community’s resolve that things need to move and they need to move now. The relevant authorities must be allowed to go about their appointed tasks unfettered and without any interference. This Security Council must pay close and continuing attention to the crisis, and it must ensure that progress is swiftly made, that human dignity is respected and that the perpetrators of this violent criminal act are brought to justice.

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of the Philippines.

Mr. Cabactulan (Philippines): In the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, the Philippines lost a mother and her two children. The Philippines expresses once again its most sincere condolences to the families that lost their loved ones and to the Governments of the victims: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Viet Nam.

My delegation reiterates its condemnation of this incident in the strongest possible terms. The Philippines unequivocally supports calls for a full, thorough and independent international investigation — calls that have already been made by the Council and Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon. The investigation should shed more light and definitive information into the circumstances surrounding this regrettable incident so that the perpetrators of this most offensive of acts will be held fully accountable.

The Philippines is concerned that the integrity of the crash site has been compromised, and in this regard urgently calls on the parties involved to secure the site of the crash and to grant investigators immediate and unfettered access to the crash site so that the investigation can commence without further delay. The remains of the victims need to be fully recovered, accounted for and given proper burial. We need to bring our loved ones home. We owe it to their memories and to their families. The perpetrators need to be identified and held fully accountable for this most revolting of acts. We must be united in ensuring that all necessary actions are undertaken so that justice is finally served.

My delegation is most grateful to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia for her leadership in preparing a draft resolution which later, with all her contributions and support, commanded a unanimous action by the Council. Resolution 2166 (2014) is an important action-oriented step towards achieving our common goal. The Philippines fully supports the resolution. We have co-sponsored the resolution. Indeed, we will support all efforts to secure justice for all and to honour the memory of the 298 irreplaceable lives in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

We really hope that resolution 2166 (2014) will find its fullest implementation. This unspeakable tragedy demands complete closure.

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of Germany.

Mr. Thoms (Germany): Let me first of all express my sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Foreign Minister Timmermans and the people of the Netherlands, to Foreign Minister Bishop and the people of Australia, and to all others who had nationals, relatives, family or friends on Flight MH-17. Two hundred and ninety-eight lives have been tragically lost. We are mourning the loss of four of our citizens. My Government is profoundly grateful for the condolences offered by so many delegations during the past few days.

Germany is shocked over increasing evidence that the airliner was, indeed, shot down. This would be an outrageous crime. What is happening currently at the crash site is unacceptable and shameful. The world is horrified to witness the abominable circumstances prevailing there.

We welcome the adoption of resolution 2166 (2014) and we call on all actors to ensure that unhindered access and security for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors and international experts are guaranteed; that there are no further impediments to the recovery of the bodies of victims and their transport to Kharkiv, as proposed by the Netherlands; that any further tampering with possible evidence is ruled out; and that an international investigation is started as soon as possible, leading to a full and thorough examination. We welcome the efforts undertaken by the Government of Ukraine to this effect so far. We also applaud President Poroshenko’s announcement today of a unilateral ceasefire around the crash site — a step that must be reciprocated immediately by the separatists.

The downing of MH-17 has added a global dimension to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. It renders a peaceful and negotiated resolution of the crisis even more urgent. The conflict in eastern Ukraine must be brought to an end. We urgently need a bilateral ceasefire and the beginning of real negotiations. Germany has constantly worked to further such a peaceful solution, as demonstrated by innumerable talks and meetings between Chancellor Merkel, Foreign Minister Steinmeier and other senior leaders.

Unfortunately, the Russian leadership has so far failed to discourage the separatists from their illegal acts and to stop the infiltration of weapons, fighters and ammunition. We expect Russia to finally bring its influence to bear on the separatists, to prevent Russian citizens from joining them, and to immediately take all necessary measures to ensure effective control of the Russian-Ukrainian border. We also expect Russia to fully support the investigation concerning the causes of the crash, particularly by exerting the necessary pressure on the separatists to immediately stop destroying evidence and to give full and unfettered access to Ukrainian and international investigators.

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of Canada.

Mr. Rishchynski (Canada): Canada mourns the terrible loss of lives of those aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 and wholeheartedly joins the co-sponsors of resolution 2166 (2014), which strongly condemns the atrocity. We urge an immediate, comprehensive, credible and unimpeded international investigation into the event, in accordance with the guidelines set up by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Time is of the essence, and it is vital that the pro-Russian groups currently in control of the crash site impede neither the work of investigative teams nor efforts to recover and repatriate the remains of the victims.

(spoke in French)

Canada welcomes the statement issued on 17 July by the trilateral contact group. However, declarations are not enough. Russia and the pro-Russia militants must match words with deeds and cooperate fully with the investigation. The conflict in eastern Ukraine has been both generated by and perpetrated by the Putin regime. Evidence of Russian financial and material support to illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine is both clear and compelling, and President Putin’s continued support for those groups constitutes a threat to international peace and security. President Putin has the ability to end this war. He can do so by ending his support to pro-Russian forces, ending the build-up of troops on the Ukrainian border, withdrawing his troops from Crimea and using Russia’s considerable influence to broker a ceasefire.

(spoke in English)

The need for answers, for justice and for respect for the victims’ grieving friends and family members should unite all of us here today. Canada, as a nation and as host State to ICAO, stands ready to provide whatever support it can towards those ends. There must be justice. And to have justice, there must be truth.

The President: I now give the floor to the representative of Viet Nam.

Mr. Le Hoai Trung (Viet Nam): I wish to acknowledge the participation of the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

I would now like to make a statement in my national capacity that reflects the viewpoint of the Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as stated on 19 July.

“ASEAN member States strongly condemn the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 in eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014. We express shock at the tragic deaths of the 298 people of multiple nationalities on board the airline.

“Flight MH-17 was flying over non-restricted airspace, and following a flight path which had been declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It is a flight route that is utilized by many international airlines plying the Asia-Europe route.

“ASEAN member States underline that it is imperative that we find out precisely what happened to Flight MH-17. We call for a full, independent and transparent investigation into the catastrophe. We emphasize that investigations must not be hindered.

“ASEAN member States hereby convey our profound sorrow and condolences to the families and loved ones of those on board Flight MH-17.”

The President: There are no more names on the list of speakers. Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.

The meeting rose at 4.55 p.m.