The crash happened at the height of the Cold War as rival political and commercial interests vied for influence in the former Belgian colony of Congo, a vast land that controlled enormous mineral reserves, as it still does.
Mr. Othman has been trying to discover whether previously hidden reports and transcripts in American and other intelligence archives could help unravel the mystery, but he has largely been stonewalled. He is seeking to have some measure of reportable progress before the next General Assembly of the United Nations in three months’ time.
In his latest inquiries, Mr. Othman has sought to persuade each government that might have information, including the United States, to appoint what he has called an “independent and high-ranking official to conduct a dedicated internal review of their intelligence, security and defense archives.” The countries are Britain, Canada, the United States, Russia, France, Sweden, South Africa and Belgium.
In a statement on the latest developments in the inquiry, the United Nations Association said Belgium, France and Sweden had appointed senior officials to conduct those inquiries while the United States, Canada and Germany had “identified their preferred ‘high-ranking official’ and Russia has confirmed progress in this regard.”
The statement referred to South Africa and Britain as “stragglers” which “some fear are yet to respond, well behind the curve.”