Canada on Sunday welcomed Israel's decision to create an independent public commission that includes two foreign observers, from Ireland and Canada, to investigate its May 31 naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
"We welcome the Israeli Government's decision to set up an independent public commission which will investigate what exactly occurred on board the flotilla headed for Gaza a few weeks ago," Foreign Affairs Minister Laurence Cannon said in a statement.
"Canada fully supports an impartial, credible, and transparent investigation into the tragic incident," he added, referring to the controversial Israeli raid that killed nine Turkish activists.
"While we fully support the importance of delivering humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, we also fully support Israel's right to inspect ships to ensure military material and armaments do not reach the hands of Hamas terrorists," Cannon also said.
Canada, he added, "joins others in calling on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to return quickly to negotiations toward a comprehensive and lasting peace in the region."
After rejecting calls for an international probe into the incident, Israel on Sunday announced an investigative commission chaired by retired Israeli supreme court judge Yaakov Tirkel that will include as foreign observers Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble and Ken Watkin, a former judge advocate general of the Canadian armed forces.
Cannon said that given his career and past service, Watkin "is well suited to participate in this commission."
The observers' role in the commission, however, will be limited. They "will not have the right to vote in relation to the proceedings and conclusions of the commission," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said.
Netanyahu had earlier told members of his right-wing Likud party that the composition and mandate of the commission was being coordinated with the United States.