US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has described the Russian involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 as “deeply immoral” and pledged to support attempts by the multi-national Joint Investigations Team to hold those responsible accountable.
Pompeo made the comments during an ABC television interview after Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) Talks at Stanford University in California.
He had earlier made a similar commitment at a press conference after being asked a question by a Seven news reporter from Perth parents Anthony Maslin and Rin Norris who lost their three children Otis, Evie and Mo as well as their grandfather, Nick Norris.
They were among 298 people, including 38 Australians, killed when the plane was destroyed by a Russian-made missile in 2014.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had raised concerns about the US approach to MH17 after a conciliatory meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
Asked about the concerns during an interview on the ABC’s 7:30 Report, Pompeo said: “There’s no chance that’s going to happen.
“This administration has been consistent. America has been incredibly supportive of the Joint Investigative Team. We understand what happened with MH17, we are committed to making sure those responsible are held accountable.”
Pompeo said he had told that to Bishop but he was happy to share it with the Australian people.
He was also asked by reporter Zoe Daniel what he would say the Perth family.
“Yeah it was a real tragedy,’’ he said. “What the Russians did there is deeply immoral.
“There ought to be accountability and the United States is prepared to support the joint Investigating team such that that accountability takes place.
“We’ve been at the front of that, we’ve worked diligently on it, we care deeply about it — the previous administration did too, I give them full credit for that — and we’ll continue to be so.”
The failure of Trump to raise MH17 during his controversial meeting with Putin caused a minor storm in Australia.
An Australian MP was forced to apologize to families of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 victims after he suggested Russia’s role in the crime should be overlooked to facilitate better international relations.
Maslin also accused Trump of lacking empathy for his fellow humans and trying to appease Putin.