Prime Minister Tony Abbott will lay a floral tribute to the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 at the military barracks in the Netherlands where their bodies are being identified by forensic experts.
Mr Abbott on Monday will travel to the barracks at Hilversum where a Dutch-led team of investigators has so far identified 65 of the 298 passengers who died when MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
The prime minister will leave flowers at what has become a temporary shrine to the victims before meeting with Australian forensic experts who are part of the team using DNA, fingerprints and dental records to identify victims.
Later in the day, he will meet with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, in The Hague to thank him for his country’s role in retrieving victims’ bodies from the crash site in territory controlled by pro-Russia militants.
Mr Abbott will sign a condolence book to the almost 200 Dutch victims who died more than three weeks ago.
The disaster also claimed the lives of 38 people who called Australia home.
The prime minister arrived in the Netherlands on Sunday night local time (Monday 0500 AEST).
He’s being accompanied on the trip by Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Tony Negus and Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin.
The party will initially travel to Eindhoven airbase on Monday morning to tour one of the RAAF C-17 transporters that has been used to repatriate bodies from Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv.
The trip will conclude with a bilateral meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte later in the evening.
“While here in the Netherlands I will have an opportunity to talk to Prime Minister Rutte and other Dutch officials about the ongoing investigation into the shooting down of MH17,” Mr Abbott told reporters at Rotterdam airport just south of The Hague.
“I will have an opportunity to talk to Prime Minister Rutte and his senior officials about just what needs to be done to ensure that the investigation is concluded and the guilty are punished and justice is delivered to the grieving families of the 298 innocent people who were murdered on flight MH17.”