(Adds details, quotes from statement, background)
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA, July 23 The cockpit voice recorder of
the Malaysian airliner downed over Ukraine is in good condition,
the U.N. civil aviation body said on Wednesday, adding that it
was holding talks with airlines and states on how to assess the
danger posed by conflicts.
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a missile
over eastern Ukraine last week, killing almost 300 people. The
plane crashed in territory held by Russian-backed separatists,
raising fears the wreckage might be tampered with.
Officials from the Montreal-based International Civil
Aviation Organization are helping Ukrainian and Dutch
authorities probe the crash. Most of the victims on the
Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight were Dutch.
"The cockpit voice recorder is in good condition ... the
digital flight data recorder is still under review," ICAO said
in a statement.
The Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the international
inquiry into the crash, said earlier in the day there was no
evidence the voice recorder had been tampered with.
Britain said on Wednesday it had taken delivery of the two
recorders, a day after a senior rebel leader in Ukraine handed
them over to Malaysian experts.
ICAO, which groups 191 countries, has no operational role
and does not issue advisories about the dangers of armed
Indeed, no single global body has overall responsibility for
keeping the skies safe for civil aviation.
ICAO said it was consulting with the International Air
Transport Association and regional aviation organizations "on
the respective roles of states, airlines and international
organizations for assessing the risk of airspace affected by
The statement gave no further details.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that representatives to the
agency were considering whether ICAO should expand its role and
issue safety advisories about the risks posed to aviation over
"The use of weapons against international civil aviation
absolutely cannot be tolerated," ICAO Council President
Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said in Wednesday's statement.
ICAO representatives said privately they doubted whether
ICAO would take on more responsibility for safety matters,
citing a lack of expertise and concerns about liability.
They also predicted resistance to the idea from national
governments, who have total control over their own airspace and
may not be willing to hand over power to ICAO.
At the time of the crash, Ukraine had closed the airspace
above the disputed region up to a height of 32,000 feet (9,800
meters). It has since banned all flights over the area.
The head of IATA said on Tuesday it was up to governments
and air traffic control authorities to provide information about
routes and restrictions.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Amran Abocar)