Malaysia silent as France reopens MH370 ‘box’

In this March 3, 2018, file photo, a girl writes a condolence message during the Day of Remembrance for MH370 event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)
Updated 10 August 2018
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Malaysia silent as France reopens MH370 ‘box’

  • Malaysia Airlines' flight MH370, carrying 239 crew and passengers, went missing in March 2014, 40 minutes into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing
  • In July, Malaysian authorities released a 1,500-page final report that failed to provide any explanation for the flight’s disappearance

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been tight-lipped about French investigators’ decision to reopen the probe into the missing Malaysia Airlines' flight MH370 amid criticisms of the investigation by Malaysian authorities. 

In July, Malaysian authorities released a 1,500-page final report that failed to provide any explanation for the flight’s disappearance. 

The MH370, carrying 239 crew and passengers, went missing in March 2014, 40 minutes into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Victims’ relatives and friends continue to question the Malaysian report’s findings, with some citing the possibility of interference in the investigation. This has led to France’s Gendarmerie of Air Transport (GTA) launching its own probe.

The GTA is keen to re-examine all the technical data provided by British satellite operator Inmarsat in the hope of determining and confirming the aircraft’s flight path.

Malaysian authorities did not respond to requests from Arab News for comment. Dr. Oh Ei Sun, senior adviser at the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, told Arab News that the “French connection” to this matter lies with the discovery of aircraft parts allegedly from the MH370 in the French overseas territory of Reunion. 

To date, more than 20 pieces of possible debris from the MH370 have been found along the African coast and islands in the Indian Ocean.

“It would be interesting to see how the French would go about their investigation differently, as supposedly both Malaysia and Australia conducted investigations with inconclusive results,” said Oh.

Aviation expert Rizal Kamaruzzaman disputed any “cover up” by Malaysian authorities. “Malaysia has no interest in concealing or manipulating facts in the report, as it has invested millions of dollars and expended civilian and military resources to get to the bottom of the issue,” he told Arab News.

“It would be desirable if a French investigation is able to extract additional data or facts from corporations under their jurisdiction. This could add to the body of knowledge that exists around the MH370,” he said.

“It’s important that French investigators start with the basics, such as reviewing the flight plan and any deviations.”

Many aviation experts would like to know the methods used by Inmarsat experts to predict the aircraft’s final position, he added.


Kosovo votes to create national army over Serb objections

Updated 18 October 2018
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Kosovo votes to create national army over Serb objections

  • Europe’s newest independent state which relies on NATO troops for its protection, voted to set up a 5,000-strong national army
  • The landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million, which declared independence in 2008, is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops

PRISTINA: Parliament in Kosovo, Europe’s newest independent state which relies on NATO troops for its protection, voted on Thursday to set up a 5,000-strong national army though its Serb minority said the move was illegal.
Serb deputies, backed by Belgrade which does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, have blocked any such move in the past saying creation of a national army required a change to the constitution.
But three laws promoted by the Kosovo government and passed by a parliamentary vote on Thursday simply upgraded the mandate of the lightly-armed domestic Kosovo Security Force (KSF) to become a national army — something which the government said did not require any changes to the constitution.
The vote was passed with 98 in favor in the 120-seat parliament, though it was boycotted by the legislature’s 11 Serb deputies. A second vote will be required in the next few days.
“The three laws have one task, to protect the territorial integrity of Kosovo, to protect the citizens of all communities in Kosovo,” Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said before the vote.
The landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million, which declared independence in 2008, is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops nearly two decades after the end of the war.
NATO moved into the fledgling state in June 1999 following weeks of air strikes to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces fighting a two-year counter-insurgency after the break-up of Yugoslavia.
The United States and most of the European Union member states recognize Kosovo. But objections by permanent Security Council members Russia and China which back Serbia in not accepting Kosovo’s statehood prevent it from being a member of the United Nations.
The laws passed said the new army would have 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists. The present KSF security force is a lightly armed, 2,500-strong force trained by NATO and tasked with crisis response, civil protection and ordinance disposal.
NATO says it has no plans to leave the territory just now, but it suggested that any change to the status of the KSF might lead to a reduction in its forces there.
“Any change in the structure, mandate and mission of the Kosovo Security Forces is for the Kosovo authorities to decide,” a NATO official told Reuters in an emailed answer.
“NATO supports the Kosovo Security Force under its current mandate. Should this mandate evolve, the North Atlantic Council will have to re-examine the level of NATO’s engagement in Kosovo. We cannot predict decisions by the North Atlantic Council.”