Russia to broach Gaza raid at UN: Putin

8th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday his country would raise the controversial issue of who should investigate Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza aid flotilla at the United Nations.

"Unfortunately, this act happened in international waters, which is another source for concern," Putin said during a press conference on the sidelines of an Istanbul summit on security in Asia.

Nine Turks were killed in last week's Israeli raid on a six-vessel international flotilla shipping relief supplies to the Gaza Strip which is under an Israeli embargo.

Putin stressed the need for calm and for a thorough and comprehensive investigation at the press conference also attended by Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"We can't allow a new flame to flare up in the Middle East." Putin added: "This is why (the incident) must be specifically investigated."

"We will raise the issue at the United Nations, we're working at it," said Putin, who discussed the raid with Erdogan "in detail".

Putin said the "tragic incident with the humanitarian flotilla for the Gaza strip, the loss of peaceful civilians has caused a new exacerbation of the situation.

"We are deeply worried by such a crude violation of the universally recognized norms of international law."

Putin said that Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip should be over and called for "real steps to ease the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Territories".

Turkey has been calling for an independent fact-finding panel under UN supervision to probe the raid, a demand rejected by Israel which favours an internal investigation.

Erdogan announced Sunday that he discussed setting up such a panel with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution setting up an independent international probe into Israel's interception of the Gaza-bound ships.

© 2010 AFP

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