Israel's Barak cancels trip to Paris defence fair

13th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday cancelled a visit to the Eurosatory 2010 defence exhibition in Paris, his office said.

"The minister cancelled his trip to Paris for the Eurosatory and his meetings with top French officials," his office said in a statement.

"Defence Minister Barak decided to stay in Israel until an announcement about the establishment of a team of experts to examine the events surrounding the flotilla," it said, referring to a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound fleet of aid ships.

The botched pre-dawn raid which took place on May 31 left nine Turkish activists dead and scores injured, provoking a diplomatic crisis for Israel which is facing mounting pressure to re-examine its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Barak had been due to hold talks with his French counterpart Herve Morin and other members of the government.

Last week, the Israeli military began an internal inquiry into what happened during the deadly naval operation, the conclusions of which must be submitted by July 4 at the latest.

Israel is poised to announce the creation of another committee of experts to oversee a more general inquiry into the bungled operation, but the makeup and mandate of that body is still being debated with Washington.

Eurosatory 2010, which runs from June 14-18, is an international defence and security exhibition taking place in Paris.

© 2010 AFP

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