UN still hopes for international Gaza raid probe

UNITED NATIONS- UN chief Ban Ki-moon remains hopeful that Israel will accept his proposal for an international probe of the deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, his press office said Tuesday.
"He remains hopeful that his proposal will be accepted by Israel," Farhan Haq, a UN spokesman said.
Israel has said it is setting up its own three-member enquiry panel to look into the May 31 raid which left nine Turkish pro-Palestinians activists dead.

Israelis wave the national flag as they demonstrate in the coastal city of Netanya.
Israelis wave the national flag as they demonstrate in the coastal city of Netanya.
The Israeli commission will include two international observers: Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble, and Ken Watkin, former judge advocate general of the Canadian military.
But Ankara swiftly said Israel was incapable of being "impartial," and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas said setting up an internal committee did not comply with the demand by the UN Security Council for a "credible, impartial" investigation.
Asked about reports that the Jewish state had rejected Ban's initiative, Haq reiterated that the UN secretary general views his proposal as complementary to the Israeli plan.
"He believes that the door remains open for his proposal and he is hopeful that Israel will accept it," he added.
UN Middle East special coordinator Robert Serry also told the Security Council Tuesday that Ban's call for a probe "under the aegis of a third party seen as impartial and in which both Turkey and Israel actively participate... remains on the table."
Meanwhile, a Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a majority on the 15-member Security Council expressed "cautious support" for Ban's suggestion but were seeking "greater clarity."
And Stephane Crouzat, spokesman for France's UN Ambassador Gerard Araud, recalled Paris' view that "the presence of international observers in the enquiry panel announced by the Israeli government is a positive element."
"We are expecting more details about Ban's initiative," he added.
On Tuesday, Turkey called on Washington to support the creation of an international commission independent of Israel to investigate the Israeli raid.
"We insist to have an international investigation and we hope that the United States will support our demand," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Oslo.
Washington has said the addition to the commission of international observers "would strengthen the investigation."

Tuesday, June 15th 2010

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