Iran should pay the families of the victims from the downed passenger jet last week, said the representatives from the five countries who had citizens on the ill-fated plane, warning that the whole world is watching for the right response from the Islamic republic.
Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain said Iran should hold a “thorough, independent and transparent international investigation open to grieving nations,” in a statement issued after a meeting of officials in London on Thursday, January 16.
The airliner was struck by a missile on January 08, shortly after it left Tehran en route to Kiev. All 176 people on board were killed.
Iran admitted on Saturday it had shot down the Ukraine International Airlines plane in error, after initially denying it had a role in the incident.
The five countries asked Iran to conduct the process of identifying victims with dignity and transparency while respecting the wishes of families regarding repatriation.
“The eyes of the international community are on Iran today. I think that Iran has a choice, and the world is watching,” Canadian foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said at a news conference in London.
The countries said they welcomed Iran’s engagement to date.
Earlier on Thursday, the foreign ministers of the five countries each lit a candle to commemorate the victims at the Canadian High Commission in London, and paused for a moment of reflection.
Most of those on Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 were Iranians or dual citizens, many of them students returning to studies abroad or families on their way home after visiting relatives in Iran.
The premier of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, proposed a fund on Thursday to disburse 57 scholarships of CA$10,000 (US$7,663) each, in honour of the number of Canadians killed in the crash.
Many of the victims were academics, researchers and students linked to 19 Canadian universities.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said on Thursday that he had discussed with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif the repatriation of the bodies of Ukrainian victims.
The bodies of all 11 Ukrainians who were killed have been identified and will be transported back to Ukraine on January 19, the interior ministry said in a statement to Reuters. (Source: The Straits Times)