United Nations: UN chief Ban-Ki-moon has
appointed Israeli and Turkish representatives to complete the
four-member panel of inquiry that will look into the May 31
raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla by Israeli forces, an incident
that claimed the lives of nine Turkish activists.
While Israel`s panel member is Joseph Ciechanover, the
Turkish representative at the panel is Ozden Sanberk.
"Both men have distinguished records of public
service," said UN chief Ban Ki-moon in a statement.
"I hope the Panel will fulfil its mandate based on the
Presidential Statement of the Security Council and with the
fullest cooperation of the relevant national authorities of
the two countries," he added.
Ciechanover is a former foreign ministry director
general and defense ministry legal adviser and Sanberk is
Turkey`s former deputy foreign minister.
The UN has clarified that this inquiry is not a
"criminal investigation" but it is tasked with "reviewing the
reports of national investigations (of Israel and Turkey) into
the incident" and can "obtain clarifications and information
from relevant national authorities".
The panel will be led by former Prime Minister of New
Zealand Geoffrey Palmer as Chair, who will be joined by
outgoing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe as Vice-Chair.
It will begin its work on August 10 and submit the
first progress report by mid September. The final report is
expected by February.
Following the raid, the Security Council issued a
presidential statement that condemned Israel`s interception of
the aid convoy and calling for a "prompt, impartial, credible
and transparent investigation".
Following the announcement of the inquiry panel, last
week, the United States also underlined that its main task is
to receive and review the reports of each government`s
national investigation into the incident.
"This Panel is not a substitute for those national
investigations," said Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN.
"It complements them, affording Israel and Turkey the
opportunity to present the conclusions of their investigations
to the international community".
The Israeli raid in May resulted in the death of nine
Turkish people, including one with a dual US-Turkish
citizenship on the ferry Mavi Marmara. The incident evoked
widespread international condemnation and dealt a heavy blow
to Turkish-Israeli ties.