FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The United States welcomes today’s announcement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the establishment of a Panel regarding the incident of May 31st. We thank both governments for the constructive and cooperative spirit they have shown and the Secretary General for his leadership and determination. The Panel, which has the support of both Israel and Turkey, will receive and review the reports of each government’s national investigation into the incident and make recommendations as to how to avoid such incidents in the future. This Panel is not a substitute for those national investigations. It complements them, affording Israel and Turkey the opportunity to present the conclusions of their investigations to the international community. The focus of the Panel is appropriately on the future and on preventing such incidents from recurring. The United States also hopes that the Panel can serve as a vehicle to enable Israel and Turkey to move beyond the recent strains in their relationship and repair their strong historic ties.
The United States expects that the Panel will operate in a transparent and credible manner and that its work will be the primary method for the international community to review the incident, obviating the need for any overlapping international inquiries. The United States welcomes the naming of the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Geoffrey Palmer, as Chair and the outgoing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, as Vice-Chair. We look forward to the announcement of the two additional members from Israel and Turkey.
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