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Security Council welcomes UN panel of inquiry into Gaza flotilla incident

Security Council welcomes UN panel of inquiry into Gaza flotilla incident

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin (Russian Federation), Security Council President
The Security Council today welcomed the establishment of a United Nations panel of inquiry into the Gaza flotilla incident earlier this year.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the formation of the panel yesterday after two months of intensive consultations. It is tasked with making findings about the facts, circumstances and context of the 31 May incident and recommending how to avoid similar incidents in the future.

The flotilla had departed from Turkey earlier in May and was bound for the Gaza Strip.

The former New Zealand prime minister, Geoffrey Palmer, will serve as chair and the outgoing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, will be vice-chair. The panel will have two additional members, one each from Israel and Turkey, and will begin work next week. It is expected to submit its first progress report by mid-September.

It will then be up to Mr. Ban, once he receives the panel’s report, to decide what further steps to take.

Council members said in a press statement read out by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, that they welcomed the commitment of Turkey and Israel to provide full cooperation to the panel.

The statement also noted that members looked “forward to a successful implementation by the panel of its mandate,” in line with an earlier Council presidential statement that “called for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.”