After withholding the remains of victims from crashed EgyptAir MS804 for seven months, Egypt’s General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek announced on Saturday that they would be returned to their families upon the State Security Agency’s receipt of investigation results.
France is at the disposition of Egyptian authorities in this regard, the French Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Saturday.
Sadek’s statement follows the reported discovery of traces of explosives among the victims’ remains.
“French authorities hope the decision becomes a reality rapidly,” the statement read.
“We do not know the precise timing for retrieving the victims remains. We are waiting for the completion of the process as soon as possible,” a French diplomatic source told Mada Masr.
Six months after the crash, in November, the Egyptian government officially declared all passengers dead and no longer missing, a move that raised family members’ hopes that they might receive the remains of their loved ones soon.
Paris newspaper Le Figaro reported in September that French investigators discovered traces of TNT among the plane’s debris, but were prevented from further examining it.
Although Egyptian officials denied obstruction of the French enquiry, the process stalled after they requested a signed declaration from French police acknowledging the presence of explosives and proving the plane crashed as a result of terrorism, shifting liability to security at Paris airport. French police refused to sign the documents without further access to evidence.
Airbus A320 crashed in the early hours of May 19, shortly after entering Egyptian airspace. The flight departed from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport just after 11 pm the previous night, carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew members, among them 15 French nationals.