News World Dutch PM corners Putin over MH17
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Dutch PM corners Putin over MH17

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has met Russian President Vladimir Putin to demand “maximum co-operation” in the probe into doomed Malaysia flight MH17.

“I have just spoken to President Putin in Milan and demanded maximum co-operation in resolving the MH17 disaster,” Rutte tweeted on Thursday night.

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Dutch media said Rutte spoke to Putin on the sidelines at the high-level Asia-Europe (ASEM) summit which opened on Thursday.

“It is an emotional subject and of course I am angry at all parties who have made it impossible to start work in at the crash site,” Rutte also wrote on his Facebook page.

“But it’s now up to us to reach our goal. I’ll use every opportunity to highlight the issue,” he added.

Australian issues

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is also at the summit has was criticised by Australian press this morning for missing an opportunity to “shirtfront” the Russian President for his role in the MH17 tragedy.

Fairfax has today reported that Ms Bishop was in the same room as Putin on Thursday night in Italy but did not see him to say anything.

Ms Bishop will deliver a speech to the summit in which she will outline Australia’s G20 priorities and efforts to boost global economic growth.

But she said she would also be using it as an opportunity to talk about Ukraine as well as the threat posed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

It is unclear when and where Ms Bishop may be able to meet with Mr Putin during the summit.

Crash site

Four Dutch experts on Monday returned to the crash site in pro-Moscow rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, but Dutch officials including Rutte have lamented the lack of proper access to the site.

Dutch forensic experts called off their search of the area in early August because of the ongoing fighting between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists.

A fragile truce has been agreed in the area, with Ukrainian and Russian officials trying to shore up the ceasefire.

Flight MH17 was shot down on July 17 while flying over insurgent-held territory in conflict-racked eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers on board, including 153 Dutch citizens and 38 Australian citizens and residents.

The Netherlands is in charge of identifying the bodies and probing what caused the crash. A total of 272 of the dead have so far been identified.

The findings of an initial report by a Dutch-led team of air crash investigators appear to back up claims that the plane was hit by an anti-aircraft missile.

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