Ottawa (AFP) – Canada promised Wednesday to reach the bottom of the plane crash that killed dozens of citizens in Iran, before a meeting in London with other countries that lost citizens.
Foreign ministers from Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain – all with citizens who died – are expected to meet on Thursday to press for "full cooperation from the Iranian authorities," Canadian Transport Minister Marc said. Garneau, at a news conference.
"Canada will not accept a situation where we feel we are not receiving the information we are looking for," he said.
"Make no mistake, Canada will get to the bottom of it."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government plans to ask Tehran to compensate for the families of Canadian victims, which the Ottawa authorities said on Wednesday as a top priority.
The Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down by Iran in a catastrophic mistake shortly after taking off from Tehran last week, killing all 176 passengers and crew aboard.
According to Ottawa, 57 of the victims were Canadians.
"Our first priority right now is to support the families and friends of the 57 Canadians who lost their lives in this tragedy," said Garneau.
"While we can't bring back your loved ones, we can make sure they receive compensation to help them cope with this difficult time."
Asked if Ottawa could provide money to the victims' families and seek reimbursement from Iran later in order to speed up what might otherwise be a lengthy process, Trudeau's Parliament Secretary Omar Alghabra said: "We are actively exploring these options and we hope to have a resolution soon. "
Iran invited the Canadian Transport Safety Council to participate in its investigation, including the download and analysis of the black boxes.
Garneau said Iran has indicated that it wants to cooperate, noting that two Canadian investigators must examine the wreckage at Tehran's invitation.
But he added that he would like Iran, as lead investigator, to formalize Canada's involvement in the investigation as an "accredited representative" to ensure access.
A week after the accident, Canadian universities observed a minute of silence in honor of the victims, which included academics and students.