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Countries lobby hard for inquiry

The UN chief Ban Ki-moon is under mounting pressure to investigate Israel's deadly commando raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

NEW YORK // The UN chief Ban Ki-moon was under mounting pressure to investigate Israel's deadly commando raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla yesterday, with Mexico's top UN diplomat warning the incident could spawn a "new escalation of violence in the Middle East". On Tuesday, Security Council members agreed there should be a "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation" into the attack, with Arab and Turkish diplomats urging Mr Ban, the UN secretary general, to spearhead a probe.

"Many governments of the world have requested the need of an investigation of the events that took place," said Claude Heller, the UN ambassador of Mexico, which currently holds the Security Council's rotating presidency. "I think that is one of the responsibilities of the secretary general to intervene when there is a case of this nature." The UN chief's representative, Marie Okabe, told reporters that the South Korean diplomat was heading into meetings with Israeli, Turkish and Arab officials yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council voted to condemn Israel's "outrageous attack" on Gaza-bound aid ships and set up an independent international investigation into the raid. Unlike the office of Mr Ban, the 47-nation Geneva-based body is frequently accused of bias against Israel. @Email:jreinl@thenational.ae

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