Israel says UN flotilla report delayed

AFP , Friday 8 Jul 2011

UN investigation report on Israel brutal raid on the Turkish ship in Gaza flotilla in May 2010 is delayed to give the governments of Turkey and Israel more time for talks

A UN report on a fatal 2010 Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ship seeking to break the Gaza blockade has been delayed to give the countries more time for talks, an Israeli official told AFP on Friday.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon had been expected to release the report on Thursday or Friday but Israeli officials say it is being delayed to give Israel and Turkey a chance to try to repair their strained ties before the findings become public.

"I don't know the exact date but it is true that it's been postponed for another few days, to allow Israel and Turkey to reach agreement," an Israeli official said.

Another Israeli official said on Thursday that the talks in New York between Turkish representatives and a delegation led by Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon had collapsed and no new round had been scheduled.

Israeli media reports said the report lists faults by both sides in their handling of the flotilla affair.

The Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara was leading a six-ship convoy of activists seeking to reach the coastal Palestinian territory in defiance of Israeli orders to turn back, when Israeli marines stormed it, killing nine Turks.

Israeli officials have said the UN commission of inquiry, chaired by former New Zealand premier Brian Palmer, found the blockade, which Israel says is essential to stop arms reaching the strip's militant Islamic Hamas rulers, was legal. Turkey has argued that it was not.

The bloody May 31 showdown triggered global outrage and accusations Israel had used too much force, while souring the Jewish state's once-warm relations with Turkey.

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