JOURNALIST Malaysian crash investigators have, for the first time, been able to examine the scene of the crash of flight MH17 and Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to do all he can to ensure separatists allow the full probe to continue.
Yes, Putin's pledge came less than 24 hours after the UN Security Council unanimously supported an Australian resolution.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joins us live now from New York. Minister, good morning to you, thank you for joining us. Has the resolution had the desired effect?
JULIE BISHOP Good morning Sam, good morning Larry. I believe it has. Our objective in authoring this resolution and pushing so hard for its unanimous adoption was to ensure that the site could be secured and that the bodies and remains of all the victims, including the Australians could be identified and repatriated and treated with the dignity and respect that they should have had from the outset and that is now starting to occur. We have more cooperation on the ground from the rebels and that's as a result of Russia's influence. Having been confronted with this unanimous resolution, Russia has now exercised the influence over the rebels that we always knew it had and should have done from the outset.
JOURNALIST Yeah. Okay, now we said, minister, crash investigators have finally had access to that site. Are you concerned there's not going to be enough evidence or not going to be much evidence left? It's been awful to watch the locals trampling all over that site for the last couple days.
JULIE BISHOP What we've been working on today is securing the site so that even if the conflict continues around it, although there is currently a ceasefire, that the investigators will be safe, they'll be protected. Then we must ensure that the investigators are able to gather all the evidence that remains and you're absolutely right, the crash site has been contaminated. It has been looted. Parts of the plane have been taken away, belongings have been taken away. So it is not a pristine crime investigation or airline crash site. However, we believe that there's already sufficient evidence to indicate who was responsible for this. We just need the investigation to prove it.
JOURNALIST Okay. Minister, there's a discrepancy over the number of bodies on that refrigerated freight train that's heading out of the area. The rebels say there were 280 bodies on the train; the Dutch officials are now saying they're only seeing 200 bodies. Do you know exactly how many bodies are getting out?
JULIE BISHOP I know that there's a discrepancy and this is precisely why we need the investigators on the site as soon as possible, because as has already been made public, it was a very large crash site, some kilometres. And so we need the investigators there to comb through that site to ensure that all of the bodies and all the remains have been identified and located. That is our concern. That's why we've been pushing so hard to get the site secured so the investigators can carry out their work.
JOURNALIST Minister, cold comfort of course for the families, but to see that train moving, knowing it's going to a plane, knowing the plane will go to the Netherlands. There are people here in Australia who desperately, desperately need to say goodbye to their loved ones properly. How soon are they likely to be returned home?
JULIE BISHOP Well, I couldn't have been more relieved to see that train moving because soon they will be in a safe place and that's what we need to reassure the Australian public - that we are doing all we can with our people on site, in Ukraine, in the Netherlands to ensure that when the bodies and the remains arrive in the Netherlands they will finally be in a safe place. Then the painful and long process of identifying the bodies and the remains will take place and then we'll bring them home.
JOURNALIST Yeah. Alright look, Foreign Minister, we thank you for your time today and yeah, really nice work on - in the last couple of days in the UN. I know many Australians would say - Australia's been leading the charge on this and you've done it in a very dignified way.
JULIE BISHOP Indeed.
JOURNALIST So thank you.
JULIE BISHOP It has been a team effort, a magnificent team effort.
JOURNALIST Yeah okay. Good work, thank you.
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