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UN chief speaks to Turkish official on Syria, flotilla incident report

(Xinhua)

10:01, August 18, 2011

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon has spoken on the phone with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, discussing the situation in Syria as well as an upcoming report on the Gaza flotilla incident of May 2010, UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at a briefing here Wednesday.

Haq said Ban spoke with Davutoglu on Tuesday, who shared with Ban the information that he had gathered from discussions concerning Syria. "The two also discussed the work of the Palmer panel dealing with the flotilla incident of last year," Haq said.

During the May 31, 2010 incident, Israeli soldiers boarded a Turkish aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip, and the ensuing confrontation caused the death of nine flotilla passengers. A panel headed by Geoffrey Palmer, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, is investigating the incident along with representatives from Israel and Turkey.

According to Haq, the panel is expected to release a report to Ban late in August.

He said the secretary-general will read and study the report and then he would decide the next steps after that.

In response to a reporter's inquiry, Haq added that Ban has repeatedly expressed his concerns about Israel's blockade of Gaza, and said that the panel's report may examine the question of the blockade.

Israel has enforced a blockade on the shipment of many items into Gaza since militant group Hamas gained control of the area in June 2007.

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