Malaysia pursues ceasefire around MH17 crash site in Ukraine
July 28, 2014 00:00
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia is attempting to negotiate a ceasefire between pro-Russian separatist rebels and the Ukrainian government in the area where a Malaysia Airlines jetliner crashed, a senior official was quoted as saying Monday.
Khairil Hilmi Mokhtar, chief of the Malaysia special investigation team in Utrecht, said a ceasefire would cover a 35-kilometre radius including the area where the aircraft wreckage had been found.
"It (negotiation) is still ongoing," he told the state-run Bernama news agency. "Our priority is to ensure the remains can be recovered and the investigation over the crash done swiftly.
"The Boeing 777-200 plane was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was allegedly shot down by missile over eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.
A government source in Kuala Lumpur expressed hope that an agreement on the ceasefire could be reached before Prime Minister Najib Razak leaves for the Netherlands on Wednesday.
On Sunday, Najib announced a deal with the separatists to give international police forces access to the crash site.
Heavy fighting between the rebels and Ukraine government forces in the vicinity on Sunday prevented Dutch and Australian police officers from reaching the area.