Aussie MH17 family stuns White House
THE parents of three Australian children killed when a Russian missile shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have taken their quest for justice to the White House.
Concerned that the United States might be easing pressure on Moscow over the deaths of 294 passengers and crew in 2014, Anthony Maslin and wife Marite Norris drafted an emotional message to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Mr Pompeo was pressed on what steps the US was taking to hold Russia to account, given increasing dialogue between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a question asked on behalf of the family, whose children "Mo, Evie and Otis were murdered on flight MH17 along with their grandfather along with 294 other innocent people", an Australian reporter described their ongoing devastation.
"This is a question on their behalf, in their words: That the plane was hit by a Russian missile has been proven to be an irrefutable fact," Seven News reporter Ashlee Mullany said.
"That this killed our three beautiful children and their grandfather, and destroyed our life and many other lives ... is an irrefutable fact.
"Secretary Pompeo, will the United States, our friend and ally, help Australia hold Russia to account, and how?"
Offering his "condolences to the family", Mr Pompeo said the US would continue to seek justice for the MH17 victims,
"It is indeed a tragedy. The United States has already been a great partner for the Netherlands and with Australia in trying to identify who shot down this plane," Mr Pompeo said.
"We need the Russians to continue to be held to account for that; we take this matter seriously and we committed over these last two days as we have for the last months to continue to support every effort through the joint investigative team to hold the perpetrators of this heinous activity.
"You have America's support in that and will continue to do so."
Secretary Pompeo was speaking at AUSMIN, an annual US and Australia dialogue being held at Stanford University at Palo Alto, near San Francisco.
The two-day summit between Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Defence Minister Marise Payne, and their US counterparts, Defence Secretary James Mattis and Secretary Pompeo, discussed a wide range of issues including cyber crime, the US and Australian military alliance and China's growing presence in the South China Sea.