PARIS: France's top diplomat has told his Egyptian counterpart that the French families who lost loved ones in the May 19 EgyptAir crash are impatient for answers, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, in a telephone conversation on Wednesday, "reminded" his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Choukri "of the difficult situation of the families waiting for answers," the ministry said in a statement.
The families are anxious for the repatriation of their loved ones' bodies, as well as an explanation of the causes of the crash more than 10 weeks ago, the statement said.
Fifteen French nationals were among the 66 people aboard the doomed Airbus A320 along with 40 Egyptians including the 10-member crew.
Ayrault "thanked his counterpart for the cooperation between the Egyptian and French authorities in the investigation," the statement said.
But the minister also underscored "the expectations of the victims' families regarding the Egyptian commission of enquiry in charge of the case and regarding the EgyptAir company."
He said "France is providing full assistance" through its air safety agency BEA and the forensic unit of the paramilitary police IRCGN.
EgyptAir Flight MS804 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean.
Investigators have determined that a fire erupted in or near the cockpit of the Airbus A320 before it crashed between Crete and the northern Egyptian coast.
The New York Times reported last month that the plane probably broke up in midair after the fire.
Anonymous Egyptian officials told the Times it remained unclear whether the blaze was triggered by a mechanical malfunction or a criminal act.
Egypt's aviation minister initially said an attack was the more likely explanation, but the probe is increasingly pointing to a technical fault.
The black box data recorder confirmed that smoke alarms had sounded on board, and the word "fire" can be heard on the cockpit voice recorder, the Egyptian-led probe panel said in mid-July.
In addition, soot was found on some of the wreckage.