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UN chief names Israeli, Turk on flotilla probe panel

world Updated: Aug 08, 2010 08:32 IST

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has named the Israeli and Turkish members of the commission that will investigate Israel's May 31 attacks on a Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla that killed nine Turks.

"Israel's panel member is Mr Joseph Ciechanover. Turkey's panel member is Mr Ozdem Sanberk. Both men have distinguished records of public service," Ban said in a statement.

The United Nations had previously announced that the four-member investigating commission would be chaired by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer, with former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe as vice chairman.

The announcement coincided with Uribe's last day in office.

Ban said he was looking forward to meeting the two new members of the panel on August 10, "when they will join the other panel members."

"As I said when announcing the panel (on Monday)," he added, "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," Israel and Turkey.

After balking for two months at an independent probe of the attack, Israel on Tuesday announced it was backing the UN probe into its deadly raid, in a bid to patch up its ties with Turkey.

The Israeli raid resulted in the death of nine Turks -- including one with dual US-Turkish citizenship -- on the flotilla's lead ship, the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, dealing a heavy blow to Turkish-Israeli ties.

Ankara denounced the raid as a violation of international law, immediately recalled its ambassador and cancelled three planned joint military exercises with the Jewish state.

Ankara denounced the raid as a violation of international law and threatened to completely sever ties with Israel unless the Jewish state complied with an international committee, issued an apology and paid compensation to the victims.

The 47-member Human Rights Council, which condemned the Isreli raid as an "outrageous attack" during an emergency session just days after the operation, has also decided to set up a commission of enquiry.

The panel is due to present its findings in mid-September.