UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Ukraine on Friday and is mulling a draft statement calling for "a full, thorough and independent international investigation" into what caused the crash of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine.
The British-drafted statement, reviewed by Reuters, stressed the need for "all parties to grant immediate access by investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident." The Malaysia Airlines jet was carrying 295 people.
Such informal statements by the 15-member council are agreed by consensus. If there are no objections it will be issued later on Thursday. The Security Council is then due to meet to discuss the situation in Ukraine at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) Friday.
The draft statement calls for an investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and "for appropriate accountability."
U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman is due to brief the council on Friday, said Rwanda's U.N. mission, president of the council for July. The meeting was requested by Britain.
"We had already been planning to ask for an emergency session of the council to discuss the situation in Ukraine even before we heard the news (about the plane) and that just makes this session even more urgent," British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters.
The airliner crashed in eastern Ukraine, and U.S. officials believe it was brought down by a surface-to-air missile on Thursday.
The U.N. Security Council has held more than a dozen meetings on the Ukraine crisis, but it has taken no formal action due to the deep disagreements among Russia, Britain, France and the United States, four of its five veto-wielding members.
China is the fifth permanent member of the Security Council.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday, "I am closely monitoring the reports, along with the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency. There is clearly a need for a full and transparent international investigation."