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On Gaza Flotilla Assault, UNSC Statement Leaves Vague Who Will Investigate

[Inner City Press, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 12:02 No Comment]

The UN Security Council adopted a vague Presidential Statement at 2 am on Tuesday, in the wake of Monday’s assault by the Israeli Defense Forces on the flotilla to Gaza. Afterward, Inner City Press asked first the new President of the Council, Mexico’s Claude Heller, then US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, what the provisions means. Their interpretations were entirely different.

The Presidential Statement calls for an investigation which is "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent." US Deputy Permanent Representative Wolff told Inner City Press this means that Israel can do it.

Claude Heller, on the other hand, only Council President for less than three hours, said that it should be an independent investigation panel, named by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Heller also told Inner City Press that the PRST’s reference to "the use of force" and "those acts" were both directed at the Israeli military. But the US and Israel, apparently, have another reading.

Inner City Press live-blogged the twists and turns of the day’s Council action from just outside it, here.

US' Alex Wolff, investigations by Ban Ki-moon not shown

US’ Alex Wolff, investigations by Ban Ki-moon not shown

Palestine’s Permanent Observer Riyad Mansour ended by saying the Arab Group and the Non Aligned Movement will be lobbying S-G Ban Ki-moon. Presumably the US will be lobbying the other way…

Footnote: Ironically, the Non Aligned Movement earlier this year lobbied Ban to say that he had no authority to name a panel, even to advise himself, about accountability for 30,000 estimated civilian deaths in Sri Lanka. Ban has vowed that he will never the less name that panel, which he announced on March 5. We’ll see.

Here is the PRST

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT ON THE RECENT INCIDENT IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN

The Security Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza. The Council, in this context, condemns those acts which resulted in the loss of at least ten civilians and many wounded, and expresses its condolences to their families.

The Security Council requests the immediate release of the ships as well as the civilians held by Israel. The Council urges Israel to permit full consular access, to allow the countries concerned to retrieve their deceased and wounded immediately, and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance from the convoy to its destination.

The Security Council takes note of the statement of the UN Secretary?General on the need to have a full investigation into the matter and it calls for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.

The Security Council stresses that the situation in Gaza is not sustainable. The Council re-emphasizes the importance of the full implementation of Resolutions 1850 and 1860. In that context, it reiterates its grave concern at the humanitarian situation in Gaza and stresses the need for sustained and regular flow of goods and people to Gaza as well as unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.

The Security Council underscores that the only viable solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement negotiated between the parties and re-emphasizes that only a two-State solution, with an independent and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours, could bring peace to the region.

[Full Coverage]

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