France ready to explore 'black boxes' of UIA if Ukraine asks for it – French ambassador
France is ready to explore on-board recorders of the 737 Boeing aircraft of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), shot down near Tehran in January, if there is such a request from the Ukrainian side, said French Ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Ponsen.
"The position of France regarding the opportunity to investigate the black boxes in France is quite positive. I officially informed the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry about this. If there is a request from the Ukrainian side, we are ready," he said in an interview published by the Kyiv-based Hromadske ezine on Tuesday.
The diplomat emphasized that Ukraine can count on the help of Paris if there is a request for the transportation of black boxes to France and added that France has one of the best laboratories for analyzing black boxes in the world.
"We have the technical ability and the political will to do it," he added.
At the same time, de Ponsen noted that Ukraine must first receive "black boxes" from Iran, and then French experts are ready to examine them both in Ukraine and in France.
"That is, it is first necessary for the Iranians to give these boxes to the Ukrainians. Then we are ready to examine them - either here, on the spot, if technically possible, or transport them to France and examine them in our laboratory near Paris," he said.
As reported, Ukraine International Airlines' (UIA) Boeing 737-800 performing flight PS752 from Tehran to Kyiv crashed in the vicinity of Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport in the early hours of January 8, shortly after takeoff.
None of the 167 passengers and nine crewmembers aboard survived the crash. The casualties included 11 citizens of Ukraine, including nine crewmembers, 82 Iranian citizens, 63 Canadians, ten Swedish citizens, four citizens of Afghanistan, three Germans, and three citizens of the UK.
On February 2, an audio recording of negotiations between Tehran's airport control room and the co-pilot of the Aseman Airlines Iranian company was aired by the TSN Week program. According to the record, a man at the controls of an Iranian liner saw a rocket launch and an explosion.
On February3, Hassan Rezaifar, director of disaster investigations at the Iranian civil aviation organization, said that Tehran would no longer share materials with Ukraine on the Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) plane crash because of the publication of an audio recording of negotiations between the dispatcher and the pilot of the Iranian aircraft.
After that, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov said that Kyiv insists on a comprehensive and complete investigation of all the circumstances of the tragedy of the airplane shot down in Iran.