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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tony Abbott to Vladimir Putin: apologise over MH17 tragedy......

TONY Abbott has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to apologise and make appropriate restitution after telling him Australia had information the missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was linked to his country.
The Prime Minister “commended the precedent” of paying compensation to the Russian President during a 15-minute bilateral meeting on the margins of the APEC leaders meeting yesterday outside Beijing. Mr Abbott told Mr Putin Australia was in possession of information that suggested MH17 was destroyed by a missile from a launcher that had come from Russia, was fired from inside eastern Ukraine, and then returned to Russia. He said that, if this was true, it would be “a very serious matter’’.
Mr Abbott made the observation that when the US had inadvertently shot down a ­civilian aircraft it had “duly apologised and made appropriate restitution’’.
According to details of the meeting released last night, Mr Abbott “commended the precedent’’ to Mr Putin. The US paid $61.8 million in compensation when Iranian Airlines Flight 655 was shot down by a US Navy missile in 1988, killing all 290 on board.
Mr Abbott’s meeting with Mr Putin has loomed large in the Prime Minister’s visit to Beijing after he said he would “shirt-front” the Russian President over the ­access being granted to the MH17 crash site. However, despite the strong words heading into the meeting, Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr Abbott had not delivered on his “shirt-front” threat.
“It appears that he did not try,” Mr Peskov told the state news agency RIA Novosti, AFP reported.
The meeting at the APEC leaders’ retreat yesterday followed a brief talk at the gala leaders’ dinner on Monday night, when Mr ­Abbott raised the matter of ­enabling access to the MH17 crash site in line with the UN resolution on the issue. The Prime Minister told Mr Putin it was incumbent on all countries, including Russia, to respect UN Security Council resolution 2166 and to co-operate fully with the independent investigation into the MH17 atrocity.
MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July, killing 298 passengers and crew on board, including 38 Australians.
Mr Abbott and Mr Putin agreed that all relevant information should be provided to the independent investigation and that the investigation should proceed with the full support of the international community.
Both the Australian and the Russian delegations believed it would be better to have a meeting in Beijing rather than in Brisbane this weekend, when Mr Abbott will be the host of the G20.
Despite calls by Labor for Mr Putin to be banned from the G20, Australia maintained his invitation at the urging of G20 powers.
During the APEC summit, Mr Abbott and Mr Putin repeatedly ran into each other as proceedings unfolded. At the leaders’ dinner on Monday night Mr Abbott found himself standing behind Mr Putin as the APEC “family photo’’ was taken. Yesterday as the leaders met at their retreat at the Yangqi Lake resort outside Beijing, the pair were seated beside each other in one of the formal sessions.
They also both attended a tree-planting ceremony yesterday.