French experts at Egypt disposal in EgyptAir MS804 crash investigation: France foreign ministry

Ahram Online , Thursday 15 Dec 2016

The French authorities said on Thursday that they remain committed to helping their Egyptian counterparts investigate the causes of the 19 May crash, which killed all passengers on board including 15 French nationals

A file photo of the debris of Egypt MS804 found in the Mediterranean days after the crash of the airplane in May (Photo: Egyptian armed forces)

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday evening that “France and its experts remain at the disposal of the appropriate Egyptian authorities to contribute to the investigation” into the causes of the crash of EgyptAir MS804 last spring.

The French ministry stressed that the investigation to determine the “exact causes of the EgyptAir MS804 crash” will continue.

The French statement comes hours after Egypt's Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that traces of explosives were found on the remains of the victims of the 19 May crash, suggesting a “criminal act.”

Following the deadly May incident, Egyptian authorities opened an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

French aviation authorities as well as Airbus, the manufacturer of the plane, have contributed to the Egyptian investigation.

“France hopes that the transfer of the report [by the Egyptian investigative committee’s] to the Egyptian prosecutor-general's office will open the way to returning the [French] victims’ remains to their families as quickly as possible,” said the French foreign ministry's statement.

"That is the wish that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Jean-Marc Ayrault, has expressed several times to his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry," the French statement read.

There were 15 French passengers among the 66 passengers killed in the crash.

Last week, the families of the French victims launched an online petition demanding that Egyptian authorities return the remains of their relatives.

The Paris prosecutor-general has not so far designated the crash as a terrorist or criminal incident.

Meanwhile, the French air safety agency BEA reacted with caution to Thursday's announcement in Egypt.

"In the absence of detailed information on the conditions in which samples were taken and measures which led to the detection of traces of explosives, BEA does not consider it possible at this stage to draw conclusions on the origin of the accident," a BEA spokesman told AFP.

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