10 Aug 2010

No deal with Israel on Gaza probe - UN chief

8:56 am on 10 August 2010

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he has not struck a deal with Israel that would bar a UN panel from interviewing Israeli military personnel about a raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Mr Ban has been questioned at a news conference about the credibility of the panel, which will be chaired by former New Zealand prime minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer.

He says there was no agreement behind the scenes that the panel could not grill members of the Israeli military.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said early this month investigators would have access to the Israeli examination of the incident but would not be allowed to question the commandos involved.

Mr Ban says the panel has a robust mandate, which is to examine and identify the facts and circumstances and the context of the incident as well as recommend ways to avoid future incidents.

He says he has full confidence in the panel led by Sir Geoffrey.

The raid on 31 May raid resulted in the death of nine Turkish people on the flotilla's lead ship, the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara.