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Ukrainian separatists to hand over Flight MH17 black boxes

© Bulent Kilic, AFP | Pro-Russia separatists guard the train housing the remains of the victims from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2014-07-22

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Monday that pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine’s east had agreed to give up the black boxes from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, while the victims’ remains are to be handed over to the Netherlands.

Najib also said that as part of an agreement he reached by phone with separatist leader Alexander Borodai on Monday evening, independent international investigators will be given “safe access” to the site where Flight MH17 went down in eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur last Thursday, killing all 298 people onboard.

The Malaysian prime minister added that the black boxes would be handed over to the Malaysian team in Donetsk at 9pm Monday Ukraine time.

Meanwhile, the remains of 282 of the crash victims are being moved by train from the eastern Ukrainian city of Torez to Kharkiv in the northeast, Najib said. From there, they will be flown to Amsterdam on a Dutch C130 Hercules military plane and handed over to Dutch authorities.

“I must stress that although an agreement has been reached, there remain a number of steps required before it is completed,” Najib said at a hastily arranged news conference at his residence. “There is work still to be done, work which relies on continued communication in good faith. Mr. Borodai and his people have so far given their cooperation.”

Najib said that following any necessary forensic work, the remains of the 43 Malaysian citizens who were aboard the plane would be flown to their home country.

On Sunday, Najib had said that the remains of the Malaysian victims must be returned to Malaysia before the Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. This year, it falls on July 28.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Date created : 2014-07-21

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