The draft resolution was submitted to the UN Security Council by Australia. It includes parts of an appropriate document drafted by Russia. Source: Reuters
Russia has backed a resolution by the United Nations Security Council on the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that was apparently shot down in eastern Ukraine. Support for the vote, which took place on July 21, was unanimous.
The document condemns, “in the strongest terms,” the actions that led to the crash and stressed "the need for a full, thorough, and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines."
The draft resolution was submitted to Australia, which lost 27 of its citizens in the tragedy, for review. In the document, the UN Security Council demands "that all military activities, including by armed groups, be immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for the security and safety of the international investigation."
The UN Security Council also demanded 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.”
The document also stressed the need to grant the “Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission and representatives of other relevant international organizations” access to the crash site, as well as to organize safe work for the specialists.
The resolution condemns the actions that caused the plane to crash and “demands that those responsible for this incident be held to account.” The UN Security Council “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.”
Countries speak out
At the meeting, the representatives of a number of nations, including the Netherlands and Australia, which lost 193 and 27 citizens respectively in the disaster, applauded Russia for supporting the UN resolution, but challenged it to act responsibly by asserting its influence over the pro-autonomy militias currently in control of the crash site.
Samantha Power, the U.S. permanent representative to the UN, lamented that access to the crash site had been impeded by pro-autonomy militants and criticized “armed thugs” who had “walked around the site, with little regard for where they step.”
“We condemn the actions of the separatists who control the site. Indeed, almost everyone has condemned this grotesque behavior,” said Power. “But there is one party from which we have heard too little condemnation: and that is Russia.”
“Russia has been outspoken on other matters,” she continued.
“Russian officials have publicly insinuated that Ukraine was behind the crash. On Friday, Russia blamed Ukrainian air traffic controllers for this attack rather than condemning the criminals who shot down the plane. Since then, Russia has begun to blame Ukraine for the attack itself, though the missile came from separatist territory that Russia knows full well Ukraine has not yet reclaimed.”
In response, Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin defended Russia’s conduct and said that there was “no need to turn a tragedy into a farce."
"Perhaps Washington is unaware of the efforts which Russia has undertaken, in particular as part of the contact group, to ensure that international experts could arrive on the scene of the catastrophe as fast as possible. If this is so, then the American embassy should be better informed,” said Churkin.
Churkin called on the countries to “refrain from rushing to conclusions and making politicized statements” until the investigation had finished. The diplomat also noted the need to ensure that the investigation “is organized with a leading role by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott welcomed the resolution. According to him, Australia will do “everything in its power to ensure this barbaric act is thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
The Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN, Liu Jieyi, also noted the importance of a leading role for the ICAO during the investigation.
He added that the “focus should be on uncovering the truth behind the catastrophe.”
“Until that happens, none of the parties should believe any conclusion or get involved in building mutual accusations,” the Chinese diplomat said.
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