Ban in phone talks with leaders of Turkey and Israel on probe into ship incident

5 June 2010

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today held telephone discussions with the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Israel on options for moving forward with the investigation called for by the United Nations Security Council following the incident in which a convoy of aid ships bound for Gaza was intercepted leading to loss of life.

A statement issued by the spokesperson of the Secretary-General following Mr. Ban’s telephone discussions with Prime Ministers Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, said the Secretary-General will continue to consult concerned parties and Council members.

The telephone calls were intended to ensure that any investigation has the full cooperation of the countries most closely concerned with the incident, the spokesperson said, adding that Mr. Ban was also developing possible terms of reference and logistical arrangements for such a probe.

“He also continues to work to ease the situation in Gaza, a long-standing priority of the Secretary-General and the United Nations,” the spokesperson said. The Quartet Envoys were due to meet again on Monday to develop a common way forward on the process, he said. The diplomatic Middle East Quartet comprises the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States

The Secretary-General was expected on Sunday to receive updates and discuss the way forward by telephone with Quartet Representative Tony Blair and UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry.

The Security Council on 1 June condemned the acts that led to the deaths of nine civilians after the Israeli military intercepted a convoy of aid ships bound for Gaza, calling for a “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation.”

Dozens of other people were wounded when Israeli forces took control of the six-ship flotilla in international waters, according to press reports. The convoy was said to have been carrying educational, medical and construction materials, as well as hundreds of activists from different countries.

In a presidential statement, the Council said that it “deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza.”


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