Monday, May 31, 2010

Latest developments

8:45pm: William Hague, the British foreign secretary, says one Briton was among the injured on board and calls for an independent inquiry.

"So far we have been given access to one UK national who was injured, we don't know yet for certain about any deaths," Hague told journalists.

"We know there may have been UK nationals who have been detained and we are seeking consular access."

8:05pm: Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, has called US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisory James Jones on Monday to brief them on the assault.

A statement from Barak's office said he had told them that the raid was in keeping with maritime law.

"The passengers on the Marmara beat our soldiers with every object they had and wounded some of them," the statement quoted him as saying.

"The soldiers defended themselves."

7.53pm: Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the chief foreign policy official of the United Nations, asks Israel to end its "counterproductive" and "unacceptable" blockade on Gaza in the emergency UN Security Council meeting.

7:30pm: Following a 90-minute open meeting, the UN Security Council goes into closed-door consultations.

Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, urged the council to adopt a presidential statement circulated by Turkey which would condemn the raid by Israeli forces "in the strongest terms" as a violation of international law.

It would also express deep regret at the loss of life and call for Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, to undertake "an independent international investigation" and consider the issue of compensation.

The draft also calls on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza and immediately release the ships and civilians it is holding.

7:05pm: Mohammad Dahlan, a senior member of Fatah, just announced that the party will send a delegation to Gaza to meet with Hamas for reconciliation talks, and that the Palestinian Authority will push for a UN Security Council resolution on lifting the blockade of Gaza.

Hamas and Fatah have been bitterly at odds since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, and months of recent reconciliation talks haven't led anywhere. So a Fatah delegation to Gaza could be a significant step.

6:53pm: Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries have issued a statement:

The EU condemns the use of violence that has produced a high number of victims among the members of the flottilla and demands an immediate, full and impartial inquiry into the events and the circumstances surrounding it," the ambassadors said in a statement.

Al Jazeera

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