KUALA LUMPUR July 31:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in and around the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 crash site by both Ukrainian and separatist forces.

“We ask that all sides respect the lives lost and the integrity of the site so that the investigation can proceed.

“The long walk towards justice begins with this step,” the Prime Minister said during a joint press briefing with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, in Amsterdam today.

Najib said in his discussion with Rutte earlier, they highlighted the continued military activity at the crash site, the inability of international investigators to deploy across it and the human remains that may still lie there.

For the sake of the grieving families, Najib said it was imperative that all remains at the crash site were repatriated as soon as possible.

Every single victim, he emphasised, must be given dignity and a decent funeral.

Najib also stressed the importance of international investigators having full and unfettered access to the crash site, so that they could collect evidence and carry out their vital work.

“A team of 68 Malaysian policemen arrived in Kiev today. They will work together with the Dutch and Australian teams to help secure access to the site.”

Najib also thanked the Netherlands for their leading role in the international investigation team.

“On behalf of Malaysia, I would like to thank Rutte and the Dutch people for all they have done, and continue to do, for the victims of this senseless and tragic act.”

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down on July 17 while flying over Ukrainian airspace, killing the 298 passengers and crew on board.

However, fighting between Ukrainian forces and the separatists has continued preventing investigators entering the crash site in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.