The Situation in Ukraine
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
Ad hoc right of reply by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
(Ad hoc comments – as delivered)
Thank you Madam President, I'll be extremely brief.
I'd like to agree with my Russian colleague. And that is, on the importance of answering all questions which need to be answered in respect to the independent investigation which is currently underway in respect of MH17. That investigation, as I say, is independent; it is being undertaken by an independent body – the Dutch Air Safety Board. Participation in that investigation includes two Russian experts. All questions – as we understand it – that have been raised, are being systematically looked at.
We, of course, are participating – Australian experts – in that investigation but I, as a member of the Australian Government, d not have access to the nature or detail of that participation. It is an indication ependent investigation -which has made one report so far, a preliminary report – which continues and which we've all been assured, all participating governments and other bodies, including ICAO and so on, will be very proper, very systematic and will answer all questions which have been raised.
So I'm agreeing with my Russian colleague that those sort of questions need to be looked at. Our understanding is that this is being done. But the fact is that we have an independent investigation; it has the participation of all who need to be involved, including Russian experts, and it is being undertaken in accord with accepted international guidelines, as of course was confirmed to us in the briefing that took place, I think, six weeks ago, was it? Perhaps during the General Assembly – no, it was 19 September, I think, by recollection, the briefing we had from Mr Feltman [UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs].
In terms of what I said earlier on in my comment about the cause of the downing of the aircraft – what I said was that all the evidence which has been produced, all the apparent evidence which has been produced so far is not conclusive but is consistent with, it is consistent with the initial assessment – that this event, this atrocity, was consistent with [an attack by] a surface-to-air missile from the areas and in the terms in which I mentioned. I did not assert that was a definitive conclusion, and certainly not yet of the independent investigation which is looking to establish what happened rather than who is responsible.
The prosecutorial investigations which are underway and which involve hundreds and hundreds of prosecutors from thirteen countries and are being coordinated by the Dutch Government, will seek to establish the culpability and then lay the basis for accountability. Those countries most directly affected, who lost citizens in this outrage, have all indicated consistently their confidence in both processes which are taking place.
Enough comment from me, but I just want to put that firmly on the record. Thank you.