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Dutch, Russia in talks about responsibility in MH17 downing

AP  |  The Hague 

The is in diplomatic discussions with about the European country's assertion that bears legal responsibility for its role in the 2014 downing of a passenger jet over Ukraine, the Dutch said.

Thursday said the initial diplomatic contacts were aimed at paving the way for formal talks and conducted in "a positive atmosphere."

He said it was too early to say where and when formal talks might take place.

"There are diplomatic contacts to see if we can begin formal talks about national responsibility for shooting down MH17," Blok told Dutch reporters.

The and said last year they held legally responsible for providing the missile that brought down Flight 17 over conflict-ravaged eastern

All 298 passengers and crew members were killed.

About two-thirds of the people killed when a Buk missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels slammed into the were Dutch.

The has been one of the main driving forces behind seeking accountability for the attack.

Silene Fredriksz-Hoogzand, whose son was on board the scheduled flight from to Kuala with his girlfriend, tweeted in response to Blok's update: "It's about time ... 5 years on."

International investigators last year said they had strong evidence the Buk missile system that shot down the airplane came from a Russia-based military unit.

has denied involvement and dismissed the findings from the international criminal probe because it was not invited to be part of the investigation team.

If Russia were ultimately to acknowledge some form of legal responsibility, it could lead to compensation claims from relatives of the people killed.

When the Netherlands and last year said they were holding Russia responsible, they quickly got backing from the United States, Britain and other allies.

"It is time for Russia to acknowledge its role in the shooting down of MH17 and to cease its callous disinformation campaign," said in a statement at the time.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 02:55 IST