Israel must provide full explanation on flotilla raid: UN Chief

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KAMPALA (Uganda): UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday he was “shocked” by a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla and demanded a full investigation.

“I am shocked by reports of killings and injuries of people on boats carrying supplies for Gaza,” the UN chief said at a press conference following the opening in Uganda of a key conference on the International Criminal Court.

“I condemn this violence,” Ban added, as an Israeli television channel reported that as many as 19 pro-Palestinian activists may have been killed in the Israeli military raid. “It is vital that there is a full investigation to determine exactly how this bloodshed took place,” Ban said.

“I believe Israel must urgently provide a full explanation,” he added, moments after delivering a speech hailing the “new age of accountability” heralded by the creation of the ICC in 2002.

The Hague-based tribunal, of which Israel is not a member, is the world’s first permanent court mandated to bring perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide to justice.

The UN chief said that a detailed account of the incident was needed before the international community could coordinate its response.

“I’m sure that there will be enough time for the international community to assess the proper response including through the United Nations,” he explained.

“Right now, what is absolutely vital is that we first have a full account of the incident, what had happened, and Israel must provide the full explanation on this.

“For any further course of action I will have to discuss with member states of the United Nations Security Council or other concerned parties,” Ban said.

“I understand that the league of Arab states may be meeting in an urgent session so we will actively coordinate with concerned parties,” he added.

Speaking from Doha, Arab League chief Amr Mussa slammed the deadly Israeli raid as a “crime” and warned it had thrown into doubt the latest US-backed Middle East peace efforts.

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